We started Godfrey Brownell Vineyards in 1998. Fourteen of its sixty acres were planted for wines in 1999 and about 6 more have been planted in the last two or three years.
Twenty-five acres have been set aside with TLC support for conservation purposes and are run as a perpetual harvest woodlot; this includes all of the support lands for the Glenora Creek as it passes through our land on its way to the Koksilah River. Eventually we will have about twenty acres of grapes here, eight acres of olives(we hope) and seven acres of mixed farming plus space for our small village for processing.
At Basking Turtle, our second vineyard up on Mount Prevost, ten acres were fenced and planted five years ago.
Again, there is a protection area for the Averill Creek representing about ten of the forty-six acres.
The other twenty-five acres will be given over to more experimental vineyards and mixed farming.
You will notice lots of "weeds" and compost piles on both properties.
Our philosophy is multiculturalism for plants and fauna. Even the lowly broom and dock have a role.
We do referee and we do feed our friends but we never scour with herbicides or pesticides.
In a richly varied environment, the invisible diversity is far greater than the visible diversity.
Monocultures, in our experience, encourage frenetic efforts to maintain control and breed their own demise.
Quantity and quality make bad roommates. It is not our intent, even in the best of years,
to make more than 3,200 cases of wine a year, from our 105 acres and we would prefer about 2,400 cases.
Both farms have natural watercourses on them and so forty percent of the land is given over to protecting
those waterways, salmon, green tree frogs and the many species found naturally in this habitat.
This still leaves us room to experiment with other crops and habitat development.
Our two current major experiments have been growing olives and evaluating the benefits of herb cover crops
in the reduction of powdery mildew in the vineyard.
On the new farm, we will be investigating the design and structure of blackberry vineyards
on non-irrigated hillsides and the traiditional Italian methods of growing vines on fruit or nut trees.
At the moment, we are using broom (not much good for anything else) to increase nitrogen in the soil.
Alders do this also, but broom grows more quickly.
Alders establish symbioses with the nitrogen-fixing Actinobacteria Frankiella alni.
This bacteria converts atmospheric nitrogen into soil-soluble nitrates which can be utilized by the alder, and favorably enhances the soil fertility. Alders benefit other plants growing near them by taking nitrogen out of the air and depositing it into the soil in usable form; fallen alder leaves make very rich compost.
Broom biomass has been shown to increase five-fold over the course of a year to 4,250 kg ha.
Broom is an effective fixer, deriving 81% of nitrogen in above-ground tissues from the atmosphere,
which is equivalent to 111 kg of added artificial Nitrogen per hectate per year.
Herome loves life!
Vetch and clover in a row of Chardonnay: June, 2010.