Do you use pesticides and if so what pesticides are used at the winery?
Yes, but the exact pesticide or fungicide varries since we take a very environmentally sensitive approach to farming. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests, the number of pests in the orchard and their interaction with the environment. We scout for problems and then only address a problem with the best available pest control methods to manage pest damage by the most economical means with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment. Organic food production applies many of the same concepts as IPM but limits the use of pesticides and fungicides to those that are from natural sources, as opposed to synthetic chemicals. IPM is not a single pest control method but, rather, a series of pest management evaluations, decisions and controls often using organic material. In practicing IPM, growers who are aware of the potential for pest infestation follow a four-tiered approach. The four steps include:
• Set Action Thresholds. Before taking any pest control action, IPM first sets an action threshold, a point at which pest populations or environmental conditions indicate that pest control action must be taken. Sighting a single pest does not always mean control is needed. The level at which pests will either become an economic threat is critical to guide future
pest control decisions.
• Monitor and Identify Pests. Not all insects, weeds, and other living organisms require control. Many organisms are innocuous, and some are even beneficial. IPM programs work to monitor for pests and identify them accurately, so that
appropriate control decisions can be made in conjunction with action thresholds. This monitoring and identification removes the possibility that pesticides will be used when they are not really needed or that the wrong kind of pesticide will
• Prevention. As a first line of pest control, IPM programs work to manage the crop, lawn, or indoor space to prevent pests from becoming a threat. In an agricultural crop, this may mean using cultural methods, such as rotating between different crops, selecting pest-resistant varieties, and planting pest-free rootstock. These control methods can be very effective and cost-efficient and present little to no risk to people or the environment.
• Control. Once monitoring, identification, and action thresholds indicate that pest control is required, and preventive methods are no longer effective or available, IPM programs then evaluate the proper control method both for
effectiveness and risk. Effective, less risky pest controls are chosen first, including highly targeted chemicals, such as pheromones to disrupt pest mating, or mechanical control, such as trapping or weeding. If further monitoring, identifications and action thresholds indicate that less risky controls are not working, then additional pest control methods would be employed, such as targeted spraying of pesticides. Broadcast spraying of non-specific pesticides is a last resort.
My personal belief is that IPM is a better approach to farming than a strict reliance on only organic material since synthetic materials have been developed which are target specific, more efficient and often requiring fewer applications. So the short answer to the question is that every year is different depending on the weather and depending on pest but you can be assured that we are farming for the future and for our sustainability.