Ducks fit the bill for organic winery

With the growth of organic wine, South Australian wine producer Angove Family Winemakers are returning its vineyard to the more natural way of farming, with some surprising help.

133 years on from when his great-great-grandfather doctor William Angove began making wine as a tonic for his patient, Richard Angove is using ‘quacks’ of a different sort to adopt latest organic practices.

In an attempt to reduce chemical use within the vineyard a number of approaches have been implemented such as organic seaweed mixes rather than processed nitrogen as fertiliser but snails remained a problem.

Thus Angove has turned to Indian runner ducks to eat the snails after seeing a video of this work on South African vineyards.

“They just did an amazing job at eating the snails, they come out in the morning and annihilate them,” Mr Angove told The Australian

30 ducks now roam a fenced-off section of vineyard for three or four days, after which the fences are moved to the next section.

Mr Angove said it cost 25 to 30 per cent more to run a vineyard organically but there was a price premium on organic wines.

Angove Family Winemakers’ vines are now all organically managed and will be certified from next year as part of a rapidly growing market for organic wine domestically and export.

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