Ceàgo Vinegarden

How Biodynamic Works 1100

Biodynamic® Farming techniques utilize the vineyard’s natural resources to cultivate the highest quality grapes without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or genetically modified organisms.  It integrates agricultural, biological and ecological scientific knowledge into crop rotation, compost production, and soil and animal practices.  These practices go beyond organic standards to heal the earth for future generations.

Ceago Vinegarden has growing Demeter® USA certified Biodynamic® grapes since 1996. Demeter® International is the oldest certifying agency in the world and Demeter USA holds the world wide trademark on the term Biodynamic®.  Demeter® is the only Biodynamic® certifying company today and is a not for profit company.  Look for the Demeter® logo!

Shades Of Green

Plant Diversity

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Plant Diversity plays a very important role on a Biodynamic® Farm by providing natural habitat that incorporates into the farm ecosystem. We utilize plant diversity to help emulate nature and decrease pest problems that could occur.

At Ceago we integrate habitat corridors, lavender fields, olive orchards, walnut trees, gardens and the natural gifts our land gives us.

Crop Rotation

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Within our vineyard, cover crops are utilized as crop rotation. Cover Crops are beneficial plants intermingled among the vine rows to store nutrients like nitrogen. They also stabilize soil during heavy rains and hold moisture during drought periods and provide forage for the animal life at Ceago.

Crop rotation provides soil enrichment, natural habitat, encourages beneficial insects while reducing soil compaction and recycling plant nutrients into our soils.

Composting

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You might say it's all in the compost. These piles contain sheep manure, straw, cow manure and vegetative matter from the ranch. But they also have some special reparations that are added to regulate decomposition and enrich the life in the soil once it's applied to the vines.

The compost preparations consist of different herbs and vegetative material. Yarrow, chamomile, valerian, stinging nettle, dandelion and oak bark: 6 materials that work together to enhance soil life. They are stored in a cool, moist, dark corner of the Ceago cellar.

Animal Life

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There are about 40 sheep on the ranch. Most of them are Rambouillets, a hardy breed that produces a fine wool. Biodynamic® farming encourages self-sustaining methods. The sheep are an excellent example. They control cover crops and weeds, the manure is used in the compost, that in turn produces healthy vines and wine. We are nourished from their meat and clothed by their wool.

Chickens share the vineyards with the sheep and crew. The Rhode Island Reds control cutworms that can feed on vine roots. This type of chicken is a prolific egg producer, supplying enough eggs to keep all the staff on the ranch well fed at breakfast.

Homeopathic Teas

There are two other preparations that make Biodynamic® farming exceptional: horn silica (501) and horn manure (500).

500: Horn Manure

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This female cow horn contains high quality cow manure. It's buried in the ground on the fall equinox and removed on the spring equinox. It has a rich, sweet earthly quality that enhances microorganism life once applied.

Above the prep cellar you'll find a 90-gallon stainless steel tank that stirs the preparations before they can be applied to the vines and soil. This is a part of the process that many find intriguing. The water, along with the preparations, is stirred continuously to create a vortex. Once that's established, the machine reverses direction creating chaos in the water. The entire process takes one hour. This process creates microorganism growth.

501: Horn Silica

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The BD 501 preparation (horn-silica) is made from powdered quartz (packed inside a cow horn and buried in the soil for six months through spring and summer) and applied as a foliar spray to stimulate and regulate growth.

When the silica falls onto the leaves and shoots of the vines, light refracts though the prisms stimulating photosynthesis and the formation of chlorophyll. The 500 preparation helps influence color and flavors.

Life Forces

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The time of day, time of year and the lunar cycles play a big role in Biodynamic® farming. This cosmic or universal consideration is an ancient concept; moon and sun rhythms, along with celestial events, do affect plant growth and formation. At Ceago, we try to work closely with these natural life forces to help improve our farming practices to create a quality product.

A Return to Common Sense

“It is impossible to understand plant life without taking into account the fact that everything on Earth is actually only a reflection of what is taking place in the cosmos.”

~ Rudolf Steiner