Sustainability Stories – Grape marc compost

by Bellbird Spring

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At the end of vintage we are left with a rather large pile of grape marc (stems, skins, seeds). What could be seen as winery waste is in fact burgundy coloured gold for us at Bellbird Spring.

The marc, along with old bales is layered up into a big, vegetative lasagne which quickly becomes a hotspot for hungry microorganisms. These bacteria, fungi, and actinomycetes consume what they can and obtain energy by oxidising organic material. The oxidation process heats up the compost pile within days. A steaming and spectacular sight on cold winters morning. The heap is turned and monitored so that come spring, we are left with dark, rich finished compost that is then spread back onto the vineyard to raise the organic matter in the soil.

This may seem like a convenient way to use winery waste but in terms of sustainability within the vineyard, our grape marc is invaluable. With each growing season the vines obtain their growing potential from the soil in which their roots lie, by returning this energy in the form of compost we are ensuring the longevity and productivity of our vineyard sites. As a multi generational vineyard family preserving and nurturing the land is of the upmost importance to us.

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