Wrights Wines Organic Vineyard
Geoff & Nicola Wright of Gisborne, New Zealand grow eight varieties of grapes, including Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. Their vineyard is completely organic, so they use no herbicides to kill weeds around the young vines. With a new baby on the way, manually trimming around the plants was becoming unmanageable. As Geoff writes: We found that this took a long time, around 2 weeks, to do the area and then when we had finished it was time to do it again. We needed to think smarter, as my wife was about to have a baby, so our labour force was about to half and we were not putting enough time into the looking after the plants. We contacted machinery producers throughout NZ and searched the web, we did not come across anything suitable in New Zealand. At last we came across Butler Equipment in the United States and they had the machine which rotary hoed and harrowed the soil under the grape vines and around the plants.
'We followed this up with them, and were able to ask them a thousand questions, once we were satisfied they shipped us the machine to NZ, and we received it within 30 days. We initially had to add some more hydraulic couplings to our tractor and also stake all our plants with 24mm bamboo stakes. While the machine was being shipped this gave us time to complete these tasks.
When we received the machinery and got it going, it was amazing, what the machine did. It gobbled up the weeds and mulched them into the soil. Wow, it looked really tidy and also really healthy for the soil as all the weeds were mulched into the soil adding organic matter to the soil.