We treasure Alegría Vineyards, and feel that we are the stewards of a tradition created by generations of wine growers.
To preserve the vineyards into the future, we treat the vineyard as an ecological system with a balance among the grapevines and all the creatures that live here, including ourselves.
The vineyards are home to numerous animals and birds that we enjoy. We live and work in the middle of the vineyards, so we consider our own health as well as the vines.
We have always farmed sustainably. Our practice is to avoid the use of insecticides and limit other inputs through a labor-intensive process that requires individual attention to each vine. Most vineyard work is done by hand. We remove leaves and manipulate the vine canopy to expose the grapes to sunlight. This maximizes color and flavor development and reduces the risk of pests.
During the growing season each vine is visited a dozen times (for pruning, tying, training, suckering, leaf removal, crop thinning, trimming, etc.) to ensure the crop is in balance and the harvest will produce flavorful, complex wines.
We use products and methods that organic growers use, although we are not officially certified organic. We use compost and organic fertilizers. We maintain a cover crop of grass, wildflowers, and weeds between the grapevines to prevent erosion and provide habitat for beneficial insects. We monitor to be sure "good bugs" are there to control the "bad bugs". In our 19 years here, we have never had to spray to control insects. The vineyards may look more scruffy than some, but that's because there is more life there.
No vineyard is an island, of course, and we are subject to influences outside the vineyards from phenomena as big as global warming or as small as an exotic pest that might blow in on the wind from a passing truckload of landscape plants. Watching for such pests is part of our monitoring program. By sustainably farming our vineyards, we hope to ensure that the vines and the surrounding environment will be a healthy place for the next generation.
During 2012, Alegría Vineyards was certified a California Sustainable Vineyard by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance.