ZD Estate Vineyards Organically Certified for Over a Decade!
ZD’s Estate Vineyards in Rutherford and the Carneros have been farmed organically under the California Certification of Organic Farmers (CCOF) for over a decade!
ZD Wines began farming organically in Rutherford in the early 1980’s, long before actually applying for certification. ZD’s organic approach stemmed from Founder, Norman deLeuze, who had a strong belief in building vineyard strength through biodiversity. He enjoyed speaking of the amazing fertility found in a single teaspoon of soil taken from a virgin rain forest. Norman’s understanding that soil full of life results in a healthier environment coupled with a belief that it would also lead to more flavorful grapes and world class wines defined ZD’s organic approach.
In practice ZD Wines implements a wide range of organic farming techniques to maintain the health and vitality of the soil. Compost, for instance, is the most basic building block in creating and maintaining healthy, fertile soil without the use of chemical fertilizers. Beyond composting at the winery and returning all of the grape skins, seeds and stems to the vineyard following harvest, additional compost is brought into the vineyard to further improve soil fertility. The vitality of the soil in ZD’s Estate Vineyards can be attested to by the significant worm activity, which also contributes to the greater health of the soil.
Further benefiting the health of the soil, ZD Wines uses cover crops among the vine rows. Cover crops are essential as they minimize erosion while naturally replenishing nutrients in the soil. Mustard, for example, allows the soil to better absorb water and minerals while daisies attract insects such as ladybugs to help keep plant-eating pests from appearing in overwhelming numbers. Natural predators such as hawks, owls and bats are encouraged through nesting boxes to further strengthen the biodiversity surrounding the vineyards.
The most expensive and difficult part of ZD’s organic farming approach is weed control. Hand hoeing weeds around the individual vines is extremely costly and labor intensive so we have sought alternate means of organic weed prevention. Currently, weed growth is managed through the use of a high-intensity “flamer” that singes seedlings as they begin to grow. Newer methods of weed management through the application of natural oils are also being used on an experimental basis.
As the second and third generation of the deLeuze family continue growing grapes and producing wine in the Napa Valley a commitment to finding better and more ecologically friendly approaches has never been stronger. Introducing new organic farming developments as they relate to ZD’s organic philosophies, we are looking forward to furthering our commitment to a greener, healthier environment and to producing unadulterated great tasting wine.