“We now boast permanent cover crops in all our vineyards”
Cover crops can shift the vineyard from a monoculture to a managed ecosystem. Mixtures of self-seeding medics, native grass and sub-clover have proven to be most successful cover crops within our vineyards. The native grass grows quickly at the turn of winter, suppressing undesirable weeds whilst the medics and sub-clovers prosper in late winter/spring. They naturally fix nitrogen from the atmosphere and provide further weed suppression from spring rains. In tandem they are carbon and nitrogen positive and create a layered and biodiverse soil structure. Their root systems open up the soil, reversing the symptoms of compaction. Permanent cover-crops require far less tractor work, reducing our diesel use and carbon footprint. We do not cultivate at Turkey Flat, rather we roll our cover crops in spring. This protects the soil from both wind and water erosion. Rolling, as opposed to slashing or cultivating, retains the structure of the winter growth, protecting it from desiccation in the harsh Barossa summers whilst further suppressing undesirable weeds in summer rains. We liken our cover-crop/topsoil to the human skin; it protects from the elements, holding together and helping to promote life beneath it.