The vineyards at Bangor Ranch have been designed to produce optimum quality fruit using sustainable, low-input farming techniques. These are not just trendy buzzwords; it means that our grapes will be grown under optimum conditions using organic fertilizers and a minimal use of chemicals and tillage practices.
All of the blocks currently planted are laid out with 6' x 6' spacing, a relatively high-density scheme that calls for 1212 vines per acre. While more costly and labor-intensive to plant and maintain, high-density vineyards generally yield superior fruit compared to the older "California sprawl" model that typically uses 454 vines per acre on an 8' x 12' grid. With more vines per acre, each plant has to produce less fruit to achieve the same yield per acre, resulting in grapes with greater intensity, improved color and more complex flavor profiles.
In combination with our high-density planting technique, our trellis system and canopy management are also very important. All of the vines at Bangor Ranch use a "Vertical Shoot Positioning"-type trellis which forces the folliage to grow upright in narrowly-defined bands – as opposed to spreading horizontally in a circular "jungle." This arrangement allows for greater leaf and fruit exposure to sunlight plus improved air circulation, resulting in more even ripening and increased resistance to mildew.
Another strategy to improve sustainability involves crop diversity and minimal tillage. Instead of a monocrop of wine grapes surrounded by bare dirt requiring frequent tillage, the vineyards at Bangor Ranch are designed for diversity and a more natural balance. On our 11.58-acre ranch, 3 acres are currently planted with grape vines with ample room for future expansion. The rest of the property includes a few acres of preexisting olive orchards, native oak woodland areas, moderate landscaping and natural open spaces. In addition, the middle areas between the rows feature natural cover crops and weeds, minimally mowed and rarely tilled.
With this model, our vision offers a wide diversity of plant and animal life to encourage natural beneficial species and minimize or eliminate the need for herbicides, pesticides and fuel-intensive tillage. In addition, we
utilize integrated pest management techniques whenever possible.