If you’re driving along Hwy 12 in Kenwood today, keep your eyes open for roaming sheep — 69 of them to be precise — in the vines at Landmark Vineyards.
This is the first year the winery’s using sheep as the ultimate lawnmower to clear cover crop as it works towards its organic certification.
“It’s important to remember that viticulture is agriculture and just because you’re growing grapes doesn’t mean the land is only valuable for growing grapes,” said Greg Stach, associate winemaker. “It’s a way to get multi-use out of the land and they fertilize as they go.”
The sheep are roaming on 11 acres of Rhone varietals, predominately grenache, which replaced chardonnay about four years ago. “We did the replanting because the climate here is close to Southern Rhone.” Stach said.
The sheep will be politely herded out of the vineyards before bud break in the middle of March or they would nosh on the vines — poor etiquette, indeed.