Marisco's Vineyards are located in Marlborough, New Zealand. They face challenges associated with varying soil types, making consistency in their vines an issue. The vineyard invested in increasing organic matter and improving the soil structure by applying compost to ensure consistent growth and grape quality.
We spoke to Ben Mclennan, Vineyard manager of Waihopai vineyard and Shane Riddell, vineyard manager of The Slope vineyard about why they chose to incorporate undervine compost application into their vineyard management.
The Slope Vineyard, part of Marisco’s Vineyards, known for its picturesque sloped landscape, began its development in 2003. Initially, the land was a mix of farmland overrun with scrub, gorse, and broom. Over the course of four years, the vineyard underwent significant development to get to where it is today, producing quality Marlborough wine.
Our stony soils have always been treated separately. We can’t change the soil type, so we worked with it to produce a more consistent canopy, which we achieved using compost. The canopy now grows consistently with the rest of the vineyard.
Waihopai vineyard works with stony soils, while The slope vineyard featured typical Marlborough alluvial soil in the flats and hard packed clay on the slopes. Each soil type bringing different challenges and overall experiencing inconsistent growth throughout their vineyards.
Some of these challenges include:
Difficulties growing grapes in stony & hard clay soils.
Vines struggling early in the season affecting grape quality.
There are various approaches to increasing yield and improving the performance of vines, such as the use of synthetic fertilisers. However, undervine composting emerged as a promising solution for Marisco’s due to the natural process in which it improves the soil for long term benefits. They understood that in order to get the most out of their vines, they needed to replenish the soil to break up the hard clays and allow for deeper root growth.
Applying compost not only adds essential nutrients to the soil but also improves soil structure, encourages aggregate formation, increases oxygen levels and enhances microbial activity.
Azwood recommended spreading Hort compost undervine to enhance soil health. This BioGro-certified compost has been a tried and tested soil conditioner for more than 10 years. It was developed specifically for the horticulture market with no residual herbicides, sprays, or fungicides making it a great option for growers looking for organic inputs.
The results from their undervine compost application were noticeable within the first year.
Key areas of improvement include:
Consistent Growth: The vines experienced consistent growth throughout the summer, found their vines were not yellowing off as early.
Water Retention: Despite a drought, areas treated with compost displayed remarkable water-holding capacity and again never saw any yellowing off despite the harsh conditions.
The vineyard successfully broke the cycle of poor growth, achieving impressive results within just one year of applying the compost undervine.
"Azwood's product is consistent, and we have had great service from the team. We would recommend Azwood compost to enhance your soils." - Shane Riddell
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