Our estate vineyards in Summerland, BC are what started this journey and what keeps us going. Both cool-climate sites, but with very different soil and perspectives. Farmed both organically and sustainably, we are proud to nurture this land for the future.
Looking to the future
Haywire made the decision in 2011 to grow grapes sustainably. Organic certification was received for this site in 2015. Since then we added additional organic vineyards at Garnet Valley Ranch in Summerland. Our contracted growers are either organic certified or have committed to a transition program that will add to the organic grape growing base in the Okanagan. The future is bright for organic viticulture in the Okanagan, and we are proud to play our part.
Haywire employs the precision viticulture model supported by specialist Pedro Parra. The goal is to optimize vineyard performance by deeply exploring the terroir to discover the variables that affect vine growth, grape ripening, plant health and longevity. We use a lot of compost and seaweed as fertiliser, which helps nourish the vines and build soils. At our home vineyard, Switchback Organic Vineyard, chickens and ducks roam, providing fresh eggs, insect control and daily wake up calls.
Co-existing With Wildlife
Three Great Pyrenees – Yukon, Bizou, and Bellamey – patrol our vineyards, keeping deer, coyotes, and bears in line. Wildlife can eat a lot of grapes and do damage to vine structure, so we encourage them to go elsewhere. The Great Pyrenees are relentless barkers. They change the pitch of their barks and work together bouncing their barks off mountains and hills. The result is a crazed symphony that gives the impression that there are dozens of fierce dogs waiting to defend their territory. Wisely, wildlife moves along to a quieter place.
Looking After the Land
Our farming policy is to leave our land in better condition that it was when we purchased it. When we purchase a new property our first move is to do a deep clean. We have taken tons of old farming “stuff” to recycling or sold what we do not need. We have cleaned up gullies and stream beds that were used as dump sites for decades and removed tanks of old chemicals that were used to farm. We have restored ponds where water sources had been diverted and restored land from animal grazing to natural habitat to protect streams.
Building the Future
Once this process is completed, we remove old crops and replace them with a higher and greater purpose. Old orchards that were no longer producing have been replaced with grapes and vegetables. And then the real work begins. Building up soils, creating biodiversity and preserving the land for the next generation.