When Winderlea started farming Biodynamic® in 2009, it was always our hope that one day we would be able to bring animals onto the vineyard (our labradoodles Monty and Celie did not count!)  We did bring honey bees on in 2010 and chickens in 2014 and they have been wonderful additions.  Sadly, we never really had the room, on the Winderlea vineyard, to bring in any larger animals or flocks.  With the addition of the Worden Hill Vineyard, we are pleased to share that we have just brought in 25 heritage Shetland sheep owned by Jared Lloyd a member of our vineyard management crew by day and sheep farmer day and night.  He is a self described “herd nerd” or “pastoralist” who is devoted to the preservation of Shetland sheep.

Sheep? Why do we want sheep on the vineyard? The sheep keep the weeds down, which helps us minimize the amount of tractor passes we’re doing in the vineyard. They’re fertilizing in the vineyard, dropping roughly 10 cubic feet of manure per day, so we don’t have to truck in as much compost. They graze, which encourages the growth of beneficial plants.   And, that’s just the start.  You’ll hear more in the weeks and months to come.

To get you introduced, here’s a little clip of their arrival on Worden Hill Vineyard this week.  Welcome.

—Bill Sweat, Winegrower