Matchbook Winery: Biodiversity Co-Existing with Monoculture

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Greg Giguiere, Matchbook Wines in Yolo County California, discusses farming 2,000 acres of grapes and olives on this multi-generational farm while at the same time preserving wetlands and other natural habitat for wildlife. Greg describes working with IPM methods including using owl boxes and his participation in research on owls as control for rodents. He gives specific examples of sustainable practices the vineyard uses such as cover crops, double drip systems, and compost. You’ll hear about his ideas for more holistic approaches and saving energy and water as the vineyard moves into the future, how he learns from previous generations, and how he tests his ideas – all while striving for the best quality wines.

According to Greg, “A big part of farming is being connected to the land. So a lot of what we do goes to that. I’ve very interested in reducing chemical inputs into our system and moving away from a monoculture and having more biodiversity.”

Talking about the barn owl project in partnership with UC Davis and Sacramento State University students, and partly funded by Western SARE, Greg has stated, “My family’s been growing wine grapes here since the 1970s, and controlling rodents is a big part of our integrated pest management program. We have 40 owl boxes on the farm.”

Matchbook Wines is moving toward a holistic approach, looking at different products that build up the soils. They look at soil samples and tissue samples, while also looking at wine quality block by block.

“It’s a process of leaning and realizing that there have to be some challenges and some failures.” He stresses the importance of having clear, long term goals to move toward.
(photo by Steve Elliott, Western IPM Center/Western SARE)
Learn more at westernsare.org/.

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