Biodiversity and Organic Production
The vineyard here on St Martin's is full of life at every level - beneath the vines there are a whole host of rare arable wildflowers which are attended by bumblebees, solitary bees, hoverflies and butterflies. Each of our vine fields is surrounded by dense wind-breaks, (a feature common across the landscape of Scilly to protect delicate crops), which are filled with nesting birds including thrushes, blackbirds, dunnock, house sparrows and goldfinches. Alongside the cultivated vines on the site are wilder areas where nature can flourish undisturbed including an elm copse studded with bluebells and campions, as well as areas of fragrant honeysuckle and gorse which fills the air with its coconut scent in springtime. Areas such as this are home to small mammals including the Scilly shrew - an insectivorous species not found on the mainland but which is a great help in organic control of pests!
The vineyard has been managed for many years with minimal inputs - the majority of the spray regime has been organic with other treatments applied only when the crops were under imminent threat from fungal attack. In 2020, we are continuing this trajectory and moving towards fully organic production with an aim to achieve Soil Association certification after the required conversion period. This means that vine-management will be through organic techniques only, with a greater emphasis on preventative techniques such as canopy management to encourage air flow, and work on improving the biodiversity and organic content of the soils to create a more resilient ecosystem.
We aim to mow and maintain only where necessary, leaving space for nature both between and beneath the vines. This is a core principle of sustainable organic production to encourage the natural predators of pests, but also makes for a beautiful setting with flowers under every footstep.
Bats (predominantly common pipistrelle) visit regularly and can be seen foraging around the vineyard at dusk. By day, the swallows, swifts and martins take over the the air-space, catching midges and flies, & looking for nesting opportunities around the buildings.
We would love you to come and visit and see how alive this site truly is - in the meantime though, you can always keep up with the changing seasons on our Instagram account.