Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence

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2007 Vineland Regional Award Winners

Featherstone Vineyard and Winery - Niagara Region

David Johnson; Northumberland-Quinte West MPP Lou Rinaldi

(Left to right: David Johnson; Northumberland-Quinte West MPP Lou Rinaldi)

You could say he "herd" it through the grapevine. David Johnson of Featherstone Vineyard and Winery takes a novel, environmentally gentle approach to an old routine. He "employs" a small flock of lambs to eat the leaves around the fruiting zone of his grape vines. Growers with standards of excellence remove leaves to produce premium grapes for winemaking. The exposed grape clusters dry faster in the morning, reducing their susceptibility to mildew and the need for spraying with chemicals. Traditionally, growers would remove leaves by hand or by using expensive, specialized machinery imported from Europe. Using the lambs provides an alternative, green approach to vineyard management.

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