Another of my passions is growing grapes and making wine. We have a small vineyard at the worm farm; 432 vines on about 3/4 of an acre. We grow two different clones of Syrah, 470 and 383. The 470 is a fruit forward grape, that was sold to us for it’s ‘intense’ flavor. We were told to not plant too much, because the intense flavor might overpower the wine! The 383 clone has more traditional Syrah traits; beef and tobacco notes with a depth not found in the 470.
We planted the grapes in 2002. A cup of vermicompost went into each hole. On 32 vines we added no vermicompost and we lost 8 of the vines, for a 25% rate of loss. We planted the other 400 vines with a loss of 2 vines, or .005%. The vines receiving the vermicompost were stronger and more robust in their first and second years of growth.
Instead of using sulfur for powdery mildew control, we use our vermicompost tea. The vines love the tea. The canopy this year was full and even, and the grapes did not develop any powdery mildew. We used 100% vermicompost for our compost tea brew. We also drenched the vines with tea. As you can see in the picture above the grapes looked just beautiful and tasted even better.
We are now fermenting our two batches of Syrah. We will be pressing the 470 this week, and the 383 in about a week and a half. Both wines are full flavored with a nice roundness. These wines will get blended into ‘Lolo’s Blend’, and ‘The Big Dawg’. These are the blends that make up our ‘Worm Farm Red’.