weed management toolkit

WEED MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT

Napa Green is the first sustainable winegrowing certification globally to require the phaseout of Roundup, and ultimately synthetic herbicides. When we looked for a roadmap and resources for going herbicide-free we didn’t find it all in one place, so we created this Weed Management Toolkit to support our Napa Green community and other perennial growers looking to cultivate healthier soils and regenerative farm systems.
Since Napa Green became an independent nonprofit in 2019, our goal has been to set the highest bar for sustainability and climate action in the wine industry. Our next-level Napa Green Vineyard program, launched in 2021, is unique in its whole-systems focus on: Social Justice, Regenerative Ag & Soil Health, Irrigation Efficiency, Forest Health, Climate-smart burning/alternatives, and Pesticides. 

While pesticide and herbicide use is just one element of a holistic approach to sustainable winegrowing and climate action leadership, this leadership matters to our families, our communities, and our customers. As a world-renowned winegrowing region, producing the premier agricultural product, we must leverage our powerful leadership platform to galvanize change locally and globally. 
 
Napa Green takes this bold stance for the health of the ecosystems and communities in which we farm, and for the health of the stewards whose careful management results in the finest wines in the world.

Message from Executive Director 

Case Studies: the how and costs of herbicide-free

Weed management tools

Clemens Weed Knife

Pros: Lower soil disturbance, no soil inversion. High ground speed. The frame can also support a ‘twister’ type mower for a pre-knife pass, or a french plow for deeper disturbance. Single- or double-sided.

Cons: Low level of disturbance means weeds can re-sprout depending on timing and soil moisture. Not great with heavy weed cover. Can either be one sided (lower efficency) or, on flat ground, can have a second side, but might require multiple passes.

Gramegna Power Harrow

Pros: Lower soil compaction than others. Effective in varying soil types. Can handle terraces. Head articulates to adjust for slope.

Cons: Single-sided, doesn’t do well with lots of rocks. Expensive and lots of maintenance required.

Calderoni Rotary Disk Harrow

Pros: Double-sided and efficient. Handles rocks well.

Cons: More compaction, especially on moist soil.

Pellenc Sunflower

Pros: Double-sided, lower number of passes. Limited soil disturbance.

Cons: Can cause soil compaction. Can require multiple passes due to lower termination efficacy.

Gearmore Spedovator

Pros: Low soil disturbance. Can handle tall weeds.

Cons:  Requires several passes: One to turn the soil/weeds and another to replace the soil on each side.

French Plow

Pros: Very effective at smothering weeds and preventing regrowth.

Cons:  Significant soil disturbance (inversion of the top layer). Possible compaction in wet soil. Long term use can displace topsoil. Single-sided.

Fischer TWISTER Mower

Pros: No soil disturbance. Fast groundspeed. Keeps living roots in the ground.

Cons: Does not kill herbaceous cover. Possible understory growth depending on timing.

Sheep-in-the-Vineyard

Sheep

Pros: Ability to manage the entire vineyard floor, even steep, terraced, and tight rows, without fossil fuels. Increased nutrient cycling, as well as soil and vine health.

Cons: Require knowledgeable shepherds to be managed/rotated effectively. Small parcels are inefficient. Damage to vines and infrastructure is possible.

Cover-Crop-Bloom

Organic (OMRI) Herbicides

Pros: Helpful as a foliar spray when the soil is too wet to cultivate. Reduces weed competition in unfavorable conditions

Cons: Organic herbicides do not match the effectiveness of synthetic herbicides, but are another tool in the weed management kit. They are ineffective once weeds have fully established root systems and can be expensive.

Note that feedback is assembled from members who have used these tools.

events and workshops

CCAF Conference

California Small Farm Conference: Increasing Landscape Resilience Through Whole Systems Planning

February 25, 2024
3:00pm - 4:15pm
With an uncertain future climate being our current reality, how can we plan for this on a landscape, watershed or county scale? Join Ben Mackie, Vineyard Program Manager, Napa Green, Mimi Casteel at Hope Well Wine, Sarah Keiser at Wild Oat Hollow, and Lynette Niebrugge with the Carbon Cycle to discuss these issues, and how the water cycle, carbon cycle, forest management, stream health, prescribed grazing and good fire all intersect to sustain healthy ecosystems in which we raise our crops and our families. We will discuss successful plans and implementation projects with a panel of experienced practitioners and advocates.

Sheep-in-the-Vineyard

Grazing For Vineyard Health And Fire Resilience Field Day

Tuesday, February 27, 2024
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Castello di Amorosa

Sheep grazing offers numerous benefits in the vineyard when implemented properly. Join us for a field day in partnership with Napa Valley Grapegrowers to discuss how to best utilize sheep grazing to achieve your goals in the vineyard, as well as how to employ grazing animals to manage woodlands for fire fuel reduction or post-fire recovery. With Christian Cain of Perennial Grazing, Jaime Irwin of Kaos Grazing, Sarah Keiser with Wild Oat Hollow and Tommy Fenster with UC Davis, Gaudin Lab

Fischer TWISTER Mower

Weed Management Equipment & Tools

Thursday, March 7, 2024
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Inglenook

Hear from Miguel Garcia (Napa RCD) and vineyard leads at Inglenook, Grgich, and Spottswoode about herbicide-alternatives to weed management, and the benefits for soil health. See equipment and demos of French Plow, Clemens, Twister, Calderoni, and Pellenc and ask lots of questions. Eligible for 3 hours of CEUs.

Napa-Rise-Day6-69

Vintage Salon: Cultivating Resilience

Thursday, March 14
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Freemark Abbey
After heat extremes in 2020 and 2022, and atmospheric rivers early last year, 2023 turned out to be an ideal vintage, with Napa Valley winemakers thrilled about the quality of the wines. Please join us for a special salon conversation, moderated by Andrea Robinson MS. Cathy Corison, Owner & Winemaker at Corison, Matt Brain, Winemaker at Alpha Omega, and Morgan Twain-Peterson MW, Owner & Winemaker at Bedrock Wine Co. will join in conversation around navigating and adapting to climate swings and weather weirding from one vintage to the next.

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Climate Smart Burn & Alternatives Demonstration

Tuesday, March 19
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Gloria Ferrer
See and learn the technique for a conservation/low-smoke burn. The Clean Burn Company and Napachar will run their BurnBoss air curtain burner and flame-capped kiln/ring-of-fire system for processing spent vines, fire fuel thinning, and other wood waste. All three of these techniques/technologies can be used to develop biochar. Michael Sippiora from Treasury Wine Estates will present the results of a recent vineyard biochar application research project.
Rain Date: 3/26

Cover Crop

Economics of Organic

Location & Time TBD
One of the main resistances to phasing out Roundup is increased labor and equipment costs. With rising supply chain costs, the costs of herbicides and fertilizers have risen dramatically, so phaseout can offset increased labor costs. In addition, leaders like Grgich Hills Estate, a Napa Green member, have shown that regenerative organic farming can be cost-effective.

Regenerative practices are a proactive approach to farm health. If you’re healthy enough you don’t get sick – you’re able to fight off pests and disease. It’s a paradigm shift.

We need to have a cultural shift in vineyard aesthetics. Is bare ground how we want to present our skill as farmers? Or cultivating life under our vines?

Regenerative farming starts with a mindset to build biological and human communities…On farm after farm the soil is naked, hungry, thirsty and running a fever.

The Napa Green Vineyard certification provides growers a beneficial roadmap for continual improvement. The process lead Dominus Estate to measure our environmental impact and, since we can only change what we measure, has strengthened our methods for interacting with our site's vital resources: soils, water, flora, fauna and people. Ultimately, this certification improves the grower's relationship to the land and deeply informs farming decisions.

You don’t hear more stories about how farmers eliminate herbicides because usually they just decide to do it, and they don’t look back. The decision is the hardest part.

Eliminating Roundup and other synthetic herbicides is a significant step towards more just, resilient agricultural communities and local ecosystems. A non-exhaustive list of the benefits: Farmworker health, Soil health, Ecosystem health, Community health, Consumer health, Consumer perception/Market demand, Visibility of Napa Valley and the wine industry.

resources

Napa Green VINEYARD

NG_Cert_vineyard_logo

Not yet a Napa Green member? Learn more about our leading certification, including our boots-on-the-ground consulting services for regenerative farming, soil health, and irrigation efficiency. 

If you have any other suggestions for tools or resources please send them to vineyard@napagreen.org. Consider joining our Regenerative Viticulture google group, and Newsletter mailing list for regular updates.

Hear from Winery Program Manager @love.dream.breathe about Energy Efficiency & Savings, one of our pillars of sustainable winegrowing leadership
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We want to sincerely thank everyone who donated either space, time or proceeds of bottles/food sold to Napa Green during Earth Month! We are a small non-profit that greatly relies on donations of these kinds and we’re so grateful for our supportive community. 

Let’s hear it for: 

📍@trefethenfamily 
📍@pineridgewine 
📍@cliffamily 
📍@neotempowines
📖 @karenmacneilco
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Social Justice, Equity & Inclusion. Perhaps our most important pillar of our six pillars of sustainability leadership. 

Thank you for the beautiful description @growresiliently!
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Register now at the link in our profile! 💦

May 23, 2024
Silver Oak Winery, Oakville
9:00 am - 12:15 pm

One of the most critical agricultural concerns with our changing climate, and more frequent & intense weather extremes, is precipitation and water availability. The good news is opportunities abound to optimize irrigation efficiency, and implement regenerative practices that improve soil health, water infiltration, and retention. 

Join us for The Future of Water, with highlights including a keynote from Peter Gleick, one of the world’s leading water experts, and Mimi Casteel, not only a viticulturist and winemaker, but also a forest ecologist with a vision for water resiliency.
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Join us for The Future of Water Workshop, to explore our water future, with highlights including a keynote from Peter Gleick, one of the world’s leading water experts (all guests will receive a copy of Peter’s most recent book, The Three Ages of Water) and Mimi Casteel, not only a viticulturist and winemaker, but also a forest ecologist with a vision for water resiliency.

Wine grape quality is closely tied to the right amount of water, at the right time. One of the most critical agricultural concerns with our changing climate, and more frequent & intense weather extremes, is precipitation and water availability. We’ve swung from historic drought to atmospheric rivers. Our community has huge swaths of unmanaged, unhealthy forests full of non-natives and overrun by firs, amplifying fire risk and undermining one of the most critical systems for groundwater recharge.

The good news is opportunities abound to optimize irrigation efficiency, and implement regenerative practices that improve soil health, water infiltration, and retention. A watershed coalition has also formed in Napa County to pilot and model creek & forest restoration for localized water resiliency and climate cooling. 

Come learn more on Thursday, May 23rd at 9:00am at @silveroakcellars.
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Sustainably sourced ingredients with Chef Sarah Heller 🌱 Purchase your tax deductible ticket to our Opus One x Napa Green dinner at the link in our profile!
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You’re invited.. 

Full details may be found at the link in our profile. Cheers!
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As we wrap up an amazing Earth Month, we want to thank you all for the support & for coming to see us at our events! 

Let’s keep the momentum going and remember that Earth Day is Every Day! 🌎
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Hear from @marisataylorwines about the importance of  water efficiency & savings and what we can all do to conserve this precious resource.
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Join us for a not to be missed dinner experience at @opusonewinery while supporting philanthropic efforts on behalf of climate action. 

An intimate group of 20 guests will be in attendance on the rotunda overlooking the estate vineyards. Chef Sarah Heller will prepare a four-course, locally-sourced dinner paired with Champagne Barons de Rothschild, Opalie de Château Coutet, and three vintages of Opus One wines. 

You will have the chance to share transformative conversations and form deep connections with industry leaders and change makers. 

Please find full invitation details at the link in our profile.
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Happy Earth Day Napa Valley! It’s an incredible joy to work with you all and see the forward progress being made all over this gorgeous place we call home. Thank you for caring, thank you for stepping up and thank you for making a difference!! 🌎💚
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Thanks to everyone who came out to @earthdaynapa and visited us at the @napagreen wine booth! 

 Cheers to @amici_cellars @cakebreadcellars @domainecarneros @handwrittenwines @robertmondavi and @whiterockvineyards for donating the certified sustainable wines to raise money for the Environmental Education Coalition of Napa County and helping make it a great event!
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We’re pouring some stellar Napa Green wines tomorrow at @earthdaynapa to include: 

@cakebreadcellars, @domainecarneros, @whiterockvineyards, @handwrittenwines, @amici_cellars & @robertmondavi!

Come by the booth! 🍷🌎
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What you can do in the vineyard & what you can do at home! 🌼🦋

#happyearthday #earthmonth #sustainability #biodiversity #pollinators #herbicidefree #napa #napavalley #cheers
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Come on by to @cliffamily! 💚🍴
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Come get involved this Earth Month! 🌎🌱

🌷 Earth Day Napa - Saturday, April 20th 11am -4pm at Oxbow Commons

🌷All Things Bottle Sustainability Workshop - Friday, April 26th at @pineridgewine from 9am -12:30pm. Registration is $20

🌷 All Things Bottle Sustainability Dinner! Friday, April 26th at @neotempowines with Karen MacNeil & Chef Dave Cruz! 

Message us directly or head to the link in our bio for info!
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