Are You Being Fleeced?

Sheep fleeces spread around the vines at Gwinllan Conwy Vineyards in Wales

This is a question vineyard owners in cool climates should start asking themselves, and perhaps follow the lead of Colin and Charlotte Bennett and their world pioneering vineyard, Gwinllan Conwy Vineyards ( near Snowdonia in Wales.

The first to use sheep fleeces to protect and nourish their vines, the Bennetts planted their first vines in 2012 and had their first vintage in 2016. Colin Bennett wanted his vineyard to be organic
and worried about using chemicals to suppress weeds and grass that compete with the vines for soil nutrients. Bennett says using a weed killer is difficult. It has to be done five times a year and needs a totally still day so that spray does not drift. A way of combating powdery mildew was also needed. Powdery mildew is a fungus that collects in leaf litter around vines and can destroy them.

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