Sustainable agriculture integrates three goals: environmental health, economic profitability and social and economic equity. Reducing the need for pesticides, for example, helps achieve the first two. A little ingenuity can replace a lot of nasty chemicals. That’s why the “weeds” between vine rows are actually carefully selected and seeded cover crops like clover, oats, peas and vetch. These leguminous plants help fix nitrogen from the air to “fertilize” the soil and grow tall enough in the spring to attract good bugs that feed on bad bugs harmful to newly budded vines. We’ve also built owl boxes to encourage these nocturnal hunters to stick around and keep down the critter population.
Amador County has been the home to superior Zinfandel for over a century. Zinfandel came to Amador County in the wagons of Italian immigrants during the California Gold Rush. The Mother Lode was rich with gold and teeming with thirsty pioneers. After the boom, Amador’s population numbers collapsed like an old mine shaft and many of Amador’s Zinfandel vineyards were replaced with prune and walnut orchards. Luckily, there was enough demand for Zinfandel that some of the original vineyards remain today.
Today, Terra d’Oro winery utilizes sustainable farming practices and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in much of our 400 acres of vineyards. The vines are rooted in shallow topsoil above rocky granite hardpan on a series of gentle slopes between 1,300 and 1,600 feet in elevation. Hot summer days and cool nights ensure that our grapes achieve full ripeness and maximum concentration of flavors. For over three decades, Terra d’Oro has been a pioneer in the development of superior Zinfandel.
More recently the winery has played a pivotal role in the exploration of cloning, with small blocks of vineyards planted to ten different Zinfandel clones. Our efforts have led to a partnership the University of California Extention program, as well as the Amador County Vintner’s Association, and the combined research is yielding new and unprecedented results in the world of Zinfandel…Zinfandel is our focus and our passion.
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