Are other plants allowed to grow here at all? Surely the vines need all the nutrients from the soil for themselves and cannot need competitors? You would be wrong: Around 50 wild plants should be found in an organic vineyard. They loosen the soil, help to make the nitrogen available and attract numerous useful types of insect.
The use of chemical-synthetic fertilizers is prohibited in organic viniculture.” Ecological wine-growers regard so-called weeds as valuable and helpful. They are welcome in the ecological vineyard. In places, where they get out of hand, the wine-grower restores the balance by manual work.
Ecosystems – whether large or small – are complicated structures. They are dynamic systems, biocoenosis of plants, animals, bacteria and fungi, which are interacting with each other and their habitat. Natural ecosystems are stable and self-sufficient on a long-term basis. They don’t change spontaneously, are not disturbed by short-term influences or return to their original state. Agricultural monocultures, on the other hand, are more sensitive and labile the less species live in them and they are no longer able to regulate nutrient deficiencies or the contamination with harmful organisms by themselves. Therefore, the aim of all organic winegrowers is it to strengthen the ecosystem of their vineyards. These include the plants, which are growing there apart from the vines, but also soil and the fauna. The stable interaction of all these inhabitants should create an environment for the vines that provides them with nutrients and reduces pests. At the same time – this is also part of the philosophy – this form of farming creates a habitat for many useful organisms and is an important contribution to the nature conservation and protection of species.
The starting point for a more stable ecosystem vineyard is usually the sowing of a diverse, preferably indigenous mixture of plants with different blossoming times, different root depths and different vigour of growth – the more variety, the better. This mixture offers above-ground and underground habitat and food for thousands of useful species. Together, these partners in the ecosystem loosen up the soil and make nutrients available for the vines.