Biodiversity Month is held in September each year and aims to promote the importance of protecting, conserving, and improving biodiversity both within Australia and across the world. The aim is to ensure essential environments and habitats are carefully preserved for generations of Australians to appreciate and enjoy.
As we embrace the onset of spring in the Barossa, home to the Peter Lehmann winery, highly experienced Viticulturist Jade Rogge, shares her thoughts on the importance of supporting biodiversity to the Peter Lehmann winery and surrounding Barossa region.
- Tell us a bit about the Peter Lehmann Winery and its surroundings.
The Peter Lehmann Wines winery and vineyard is located adjacent to the North Para River in an area dominated by vineyards and urban development with remnant native vegetation such as grassy woodlands situated along the river. Our winery is known for the swaying red gum trees along the river which provide a nesting habitat for hollow nesting birds.
- Why is restoring biodiversity in the vineyards so important?
We are merely custodians of our land in a moment of time, as such we need to ensure that we preserve our land for future generations. This is why we develop sustainable practices within our vineyards to ensure that biodiversity is not just maintained, but a growing part of the way we operate. Vines are a permanently planted crop that have a footprint in regards to the chemical use and mechanical operations. We need to minimise this footprint by putting back in what we take out.
- What are biodiversity initiatives currently underway at the Peter Lehmann winery?
We have recently join the Wildlife for Wines initiative which will see us undertake significant native tree plantings over the next two years.
- Can you tell us about the W4W program Peter Lehmann has recently committed to?
W4W in conjunction with LandScape SA has been developed to support grape growers and wineries in the Barossa by establishing a personalised biodiversity action plan for our winery site. This will guide us on how to conserve our natural resources, allow for continued regeneration and recognise unique aspects of our land. We will also endeavour to work with our neighbouring properties to further enhance the action plan.To kick off the program we recently undertook a birdlife survey, where 38 species were were recorded foraging on the ground or in the vines. The nest of a Common Bronzewing Pigeon, with two eggs, was found in an area of revegetation.We have also installed Anabat technology which enables acoustic monitoring of bats. This will establish baseline data prior to revegetation being undertaken so we can see the improvements over time.
- What do you hope to achieve in the future at Peter Lehmann Wines when it comes to improving biodiversity?
My ultimate goal would be to see our winery and vineyard sites abundant with life, both flora and fauna, and regain some balance between what’s below ground (our soils) and what’s above ground. We plan to introduce beneficial species to act as natural predators in our vineyard, allowing us to become less dependent on chemicals.
- You work with a large number of growers. How do you motivate them to consider environmental practices that promote biodiversity in their vineyards?
So many of my discussions with grape-growers are how they can continue to make their land viable for the next generation. This conversation is based on the changing of generational ownership that are currently taking place for many of them. It has allowed them to open their minds about how their environmental practices and choices will impact their children and grandchildren’s’ livelihoods. Together we explore solutions from native grasses and inter-row plantings, chemical use to protecting waterways.
- How can visitors experience the rich biodiversity of the region?
The Barossa is developing as a region to be reckoned with when it comes to biodiversity. Many wineries and growers have begun to adopt biodiversity practices; plantings, regeneration and land preservation projects can be actively seen across the region. The birdlife that it is now attracting can be enjoyed, and there are many walks and access tracks to explore.
- How will you be personally be acknowledging biodiversity month?
I’ll be planting a tree or two with our team as we begin our site regeneration project!/
- What is your favourite species or flora endemic to the Barossa region?
I really like seeing native grasses within our vineyard rows, and this is an area with so much potential for our region. I also love seeing the wildflowers that appear at this time of the year along the road edges.