Sustainability

Roo & SheepPoonawatta takes its name from the Peramangk Aboriginal people. It has a fortuitous meaning in the Peramangk dialect, poona meaning “good / healthy / fertile”, and watta meaning “a person’s land or country”. Credentials that sit well with the environmentally sustainable approach taken on the Poonawatta property, our Environmental Management System (EMS) ensures sustainable farming practices,  founded on continuous improvement of environmental outcomes.

Philosophy: The Poonawatta vineyard is managed a little differently; nature gets a pretty free run. The birds are free to come and go as they please for most of the season, with netting only used during the final stages of ripening. Our bird list continues to grow. The occasional kangaroo, red bellied black snake and eastern brown snake (they still give us a fright), bearded dragon lizards, even an echidna wanders through from time to time.

Native grasses are encouraged to grow between the vines, and the vineyard hosts a wide range of beneficial insects.Wind breaks consist of local native species hosting a range of wildlife, and fruiting trees that ripen at the same time as the grapes, acting as a natural diversion to visiting birds.

Spraying is done only when absolutely necessary in line with organic principals, and in some years not at all. Weed control is managed through mowing and under-vine mulching. We figure the vineyard has managed pretty well for over 130 years without “modern” chemical use – so why start now.

The rest of the property has been substantially re-planted to local natives, and the watercourses fenced and re-planted, thereby reducing erosion and improving water quality.

Environmental Policy: Our Environmental Management System (EMS) developed to ensure sustainable farming practices and is founded on continuous improvement of environmental outcomes that focus on-

  • Minimising the risk of polluting and degrading land, air and water, using best land management practice
  • Protecting native flora/fauna by continuing to enhance habitat
  • Maintaining wine grape production standards to maximise quality with minimal intervention
  • Reduce soil erosion and improve water quality and wildlife corridors through isolating dams and waterways and replanting to native vegetation
  • Enhancing soil health and fertility through holistic soil management.

Specifically in relation to the vineyard practices-

  • Vineyard weed control is maintained through use of under-vine mulch and sheep grazing post vintage to bud burst plus mid row slashing as required, eliminating the need for herbicide sprays.
  • Tractor work is kept to an absolute minimum to reduce soil compaction.
  • Native grasses are encouraged in the mid row.
  • Wind breaks around the vineyard consist of indigenous plants that maintain habitat for native birds, reptiles, small mammals and beneficial insects.
  • Mildew spray programs are kept to an absolute minimum and are based on organic practices.
  • No pesticide sprays are used.

Biodiversity starts with soil health, particularly through better understanding and management of soil biota, and through using only organic soil improvement practices. This is the foundation of the vineyard holistic management plan with the above strategies underpinning this. Each initiative supports and compliments the other, and through a deliberate minimalist approach, we ensure our farming practices are environmentally sustainable.

Statement of Commitment
We will take action to:

  • Limit pollution and harmful environmental impacts while expanding beneficial impacts through our land management;
  • Support the conservation of bio-diversity generally, but particularly through better understanding and managing soil biota and soil health on the property;
  • Monitor ground cover, pasture condition and irrigation water application to conserve soil and water;
  • Comply with legislation and regulations applicable to our use of natural resources in farming;
  • Have a framework for setting and reviewing environmental objectives and targets.

 

Bird List: Using the principal of the “canary in the coal mine” we actively monitor the bird species diversity on the Poonawatta property. There are some species that we have not seen for years, and other long gone species that have reappeared only after our extensive re-planting of native vegetation. Seeing a blue wren in the 1880 vines is an absolute thrill and a sight we never thought we would enjoy.

 

Eden Valley Bird List (Birds identified on the Poonawatta property)

Australian Crow Australian Kestrel Barn Owl
Black-fronted Dotterel Black Shouldered Kite Black Swan
Black Tailed Native Hen Black-faced Cuckoo shrike Blue-cheeked Rosella
Brown Goshawk Brown Falcon Brown-headed honeyeater
Brown tree creeper Chough Common Bronzewing
Crested Pigeon Curlew Sandpiper Dusky Moorhen
Eastern Spinebill Eurasian coot Fairy Martin
Fork-tailed swift Frogmouth owl Galah
Grey Teal Great Egret Great Cormorant
Grey thrush shrike Grey Fantail Hardhead duck
Hooded robin Brown Flycatcher (Jacky Winter) Kookaburra
Little Corella Little pied Cormorant Little raven
Magpie Magpie lark Masked Lapwing
Mistletoebird Musk Lorikeet New Holland honey eater
Noisy Miner Pacific Black Duck Pacific Heron
Peaceful Dove Pelican Peregrine Falcon
Rainbow bee eater Red Browed finch Red Capped Robin
Red Rumped Parrot Red Wattlebird Rufus Night Heron
Rufus Songlark Sacred ibis Sacred Kingfisher
Scarlet Robin Silver eye Singing honeyeater
Southern Boobook Sparrow Spotted Pardalote
Striated Pardalote Stubble Quail Sulphur crested Cockatoo
Superb Blue wren Tree Martin Wedge-tailed eagle
Weebill Welcome swallow White faced Heron
White plumed honeyeater White throat tree creeper White winged triller
Willy Wagtail Wood Duck Yellow billed spoonbill
Yellow rumped thornbill Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo Zebra Finch

Sheep in riesling