The vines are budding out, and we are finishing our annual pruning and tying of the vines. The sheep are with us, weeding and fertilizing. Sheep shearing begins and the lambs are weaned in the warming sun!
The vines are growing vigorously. Breeding season begins! The sheep go on 'fire duty' in our non-crop areas. Later, the older sheep are put back in the vineyards for weeding and leaf removal. Leaf removal helps expose grapes to more sunlight and air. Summer days are hot but the nights are cool.
We are finishing harvest! The sheep move into the vineyard to tidy up, eating the leftover grapes. Once they are done, the vineyard is spotless and the sheep get fat and wooly.
The vines are dormant, but the ewes are not—lambing is in full swing! We make sure the ewes and baby lambs are staying warm. The sheep dogs are evervigilant, protecting the lambs from predators. It's also the time to raise a glass by the fireplace and give thanks for another great year in the vineyard.
At Shannon Ridge, we live in harmony with Mother Nature. The vineyards feed the sheep, the sheep feed the vines; lamb feeds the people, people drink the wine and wear wool.
Ovis Cycle (O-vis sahy-kuhl)
Ovis - Latin for Sheep
Cycle - a sequence of changing stages that, upon completion, produces a final state identical to the original one.
Reduced use of mowers, tractors and weed eaters
At Shannon Ridge the sheep have reduced our need to mow by 500%.
The use of gas powered weed eaters have nearly been eliminated.
This means far less use of fossil fuels in our farming system.
Reduced use of herbicides
The sheep have greatly reduced our use of herbicide. We are able to treat individual areas only as needed.
Better productivity for our human crews
The sheep are used to remove basil leaves and trunk suckers from the vines.
This means less manual labor for our valuable vineyard crews.
Wildfire prevention and protection
The sheep eat the cover crops, dry grasses and other leaf material that can fuel wildfires,
thus creating fire protection on the property.
Erosion protection and farmland restoration
Over the years our hilltops have been eroded by the wind.
As a preferred sleeping spot for the sheep, natural fertilization has caused
the grass to grow and restore hilltops into productive areas.