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Medlock Ames
 
April 21, 2022 | Medlock Ames

Working Together to Preserve the Earth


WORKING TOGETHER TO PRESERVE THE EARTH

Each year when Earth Day approaches I reflect back on what it means to celebrate mother earth. I think about the earth, air, water, people, and animals on a daily basis, and have for most of my life. It’s this deep thought about what more I can do individually, what we as Medlock Ames can do as a winery and what our entire community can do as a whole to preserve the earth that led us to create the Six Pillars of Sustainability Plan. We’ve touched on the Six Pillars before but I want to take this time of year to share a bit about what we are doing and how it impacts you.

 

PILLAR 1: ELIMINATING OUR CARBON FOOTPRINT

This seems like an obvious choice but the reality is we have 340 acres at Bell Mountain, with only about 60 used for vineyards and our operations. The rest is untouched. A sea of wild oaks, firs, manzanitas, and native grasslands covers most of the property, providing a much-needed Carbon Dioxide sponge, pulling toxins out of the atmosphere. Yet, when the Kincade fire burned through the property in 2019, we lost so many trees, reducing the capacity of our land to pull Carbon Dioxide from the sky. This weighs heavily on me. So I think a lot about how we can have an immediate impact.

To eliminate our CO2 footprint at Bell Mountain we’ve focused on:

  • Increasing the output of our seven solar arrays through updated technology to maximize our usage of solar energy
  • Replacing fossil fuel burning vineyard equipment and trucks with electric vehicles which can be powered by our solar panels
  • Refreshing our winery operations to increase energy efficiency, reducing our overall energy needs
  • Planting back 1,000 trees to replace many of those lost in the fire
 

PILLAR 2: ENHANCING BIODIVERSITY FOR GREATER LAND PRODUCTIVITY

Having grown up with animals, I’m keenly aware of the interdependent circle of life that exists between humans, animals, and the land. I’ve always loved the way animals factor into all we contemplate at Bell Mountain. From the wildlife corridor that shepherds deer carefully away from the vines towards Pepperwood Preserve to the grazing cattle we are bringing back as part of our fire prevention strategy, we are always looking at ways animals can increasingly be a part of what we do. Yet, I still feel there is more to be done. So to that end, we are taking new steps to incorporate animals more into our operations to naturally increase the productivity of our vineyard.

Some of these initiatives include:

  • Adding more insectary flower beds to terraces of vines that were pulled out after the fires to encourage a greater diversity of insect species that help us to control pests
  • Installing significantly more owl and bluebird boxes to increase the safe habitat for these natural predators that keep voles and gophers out of the vineyards
  • Planting a wider array of cover crops that grow between the vines to feed the diversity of microorganisms that make up our soil
 

I spend a lot of time walking the vines, checking on the gardens, and inspecting how Bell Mountain evolves each year, and am always thinking of new ways we can do more. In addition to my sharing ideas with you, I’d love you to share with me your ideas of what else we can do.

All of this wandering and contemplating is what led me to create the Immersive Sound Experience to share more about what we are doing at Bell Mountain. By partnering with sound artist, Hugh Livingston, we’ve created a year of sounds that bring Bell Mountain to life. I encourage you to visit us and experience this auditory artwork for yourself. As always, I look forward to seeing you at Bell Mountain soon.

Warm regards,

Ames Morison
Co-Founder, Medlock Ames Winery 


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