Land Use

Land use

Wine operations come in all sizes - from small to massive - and success isn't limited by acreage. Take a 1-acre vineyard, for instance. With proper factors in mind like weather conditions, rainfall, the type of practices used on the land and the grape varieties grown, it can yield 2 to 10 tons of grapes. On average, one ton of grapes can produce approximately 60 cases of wine, which is equivalent to 720 standard 750ml bottles. This calculation assumes there are no significant losses during fermentation and aging, and it may vary slightly depending on the winemaking techniques used. Additionally, certain grape varieties or winemaking styles may yield more or less wine per ton.

According to Eurostat data, in 2020 83.3% of European vineyards had an area of less than 2.5 acres.

European vineyards

Conventional vineyards typically focus on monoculture viticulture which is detrimental to the environment. However, many sustainable, organic and biodynamic farms grow other crops, that they use as. Vines can also be alternated with other crops, which not only help the vines but also extend the life of the soil. And even some animals can be raised in the vineyard, which will be of great help to keep the vines healthy without the need to use agrochemicals harmful to the environment.  

On the one hand, there are many crops that a producer can alternate with vines to help him get high-quality grapes and, at the same time, help the environment. Although they are not used for actual production, they are essential for the soil to degrade a little less with the passing of time. Some of the most commonly used types of crops are: cereals. legumes and grasses, such as annual rye-grass.

Finally, there are some crops that can be used as cover crops. They help to reduce the erosion of the soil of the vineyard, and can even help the vines giving them more nutrients.

Undoubtedly one of the most interesting alternatives is the one used in many organic vineyards. This practice is known as the permaculture approach, and consists of letting grasses grow between the rows of vines that naturally develop in the vineyard. Among the many benefits that this brings, we can mention:

  • Less negative impact on the soil and its biodiversity, due to the absence of plowing.
  • Helps attract a greater number of beneficial insects to the vines.
  • In the case of heavy clay soils, certain plants such as dandelions help to make them more permeable, making it easier for the vines to access water.

On the other hand, as mentioned above, having animals in the vineyard can be very beneficial for the healthy development of the vines. Some examples of animals widely used in vineyards are:

  • Sheep: sheep not only help to eliminate weeds in the vineyard, but they also contribute organic matter naturally to the soil.
  • Horses: horses are a great alternative to work the soil before planting a row of vines, since they not only allow to aerate it, and reduce the compacting of the soil that results from the use of heavy machinery. We are of the opinion that tilling should be a last resort as tilling releases the carbon sequestered in the soil. And our mission is to help turn vineyards into carbon sinks.
  • Bees: bees are undoubtedly one of the most useful insects in a vineyard, mainly because they help to pollinate the vines.  
Animals in vineyards

For that reason, whenever you can choose, try to opt for a sustainable wine. Not only are they good for the planet: they will also allow you to better connect in every sip with the land and the producer who crafted that wine.