At Chapel Hill we rely heavily on our own estate vineyards to supply the fruit that goes into our single block wines, so it is important to us that these vineyards are sustainable and can continue to produce high quality fruit for many years to come. Chapel Hill was one of the first wineries in the region to embrace the McLaren Vale Sustainable Winegrowing Australia program and is continually striving to make improvements in their grape growing practices.
The winery vineyard is irrigated with reclaimed water from the Willunga Basin Water Company ensuring there are no negative impacts on the underground water-table.
All marc and mulched bunch stems from the winery are composted on site then spread back on the vineyard, negating the need for synthetic fertilisers.
Our fungicide spray program has been revised to include sprays which have minimal impact on beneficial insects, helping to maintain a natural balance in the vineyard and hence prevent pest and disease outbreaks. Where possible, double-row equipment is used to reduce compaction of our precious soils.
Herbicides are being used only where necessary. Hoeing, spot spraying and brush cutting have replaced blanket under vine spraying. Volunteer weeds have been encouraged in both the mid-row and under vine area to smother out problem weeds. Where competition for water is not a problem, these weeds are left to die off naturally over summer, providing valuable cover for the soil and hence reducing evaporation and increasing organic carbon levels. Overall soil health is continually improving as a result.