Why we love our Vineyard Sheep
The introduction of Wiltshire sheep to the vineyard has been a godsend. After such a dry summer and very little feed in the paddocks, the sheep have spent most of the autumn months foraging in the vineyard. They munch on weeds, grass between the rows, shrivelled grapes and grapevine leaves. This is great news to us - one less mowing pass! Phew!
This isn’t the only time they spend in the vineyard. The mature ewes take their mid-vintage ‘leaf-plucking’ role quite seriously – eating quickly and reaching right inside the canopy to chomp on the vines internal leaves. Very little time for climbing and rubbing themselves against the trunks! With careful management (and good timing) they save us on fuel and labour expenses and the quality of the job is outstanding.
Now, the girls are four weeks away from lambing so we’re preparing by putting out the fox lights and gathering the feeding bottles for any orphans - last year we nursed 8 lambs!
Our olive grove was planted in the late 90’s on the south-eastern boundary of the farm. 200 trees are now unirrigated and produce spectacular crops. Two small productions of olive oil were made under our Italian inspired La Bratta label in ’08 and ‘09.
This year we are making a tiny batch of ‘dry salt cured’ olives using a mix of ripe handpicked Kalamata’s and Manzanillo’s. We stuffed them into stockings with coarse rock salt, and hung the stockings out to dry on the homestead verandah. The curing process takes about five weeks and after that they are placed into jars with a rich olive oil and generous seasonings.