Original Posting: 24th of August, 2012
The short answer is 'Yes'. In everything we do we give consideration to how we can best use the resources within our reach, i.e. on the property itself. This includes the trellising for the grapevines (which support the vines), which uses the following format:
- The end posts of the trellis (featured in below's photo) are Stringybark. Stringybark can come in many varieties of the Eucalyptus tree, with the biggest in height being Messmate Stringybark (Eucalyptus oblonga). Stringybark is a bounty in the Woomargama National Park and has many fabulous benefits.
- Benefits include the fact it is more forest fire resistant than other Eucalyptus trees due to the many layers of thick fibrous bark (our own research).
- It is also excellent for cooking due to the excellent aromas that enter the food given off by the wood (we use it in our combustion stove in our restaurant!).
- The trellis between the rows use reclaimed BHP Billiton steel pickets - often using bent posts that are reshaped for effective use in the vineyard. A sort of successful recycling.
The benefit of using Stringybark, instead of treated pine posts, is that we are using resources within our reach on our property (instead of externally sourced). The posts we select are not treated with any chemicals prior to use in the vineyard.
The process goes: we carefully selectively log within our property for ideal posts, they are prepared by removal of excess branches and then put in the ground to support the end structures of the trellis system. Even after 15 years have found the posts are in great condition.
One of the problems we perceive with the use of treated pine posts (as compared to our post system) is the use of chemicals as preservatives, one being Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) as a wood preservative. As a general rule we try to avoid the use of chemicals (with small exceptions, such as minimal amounts preservatives in our wine) within everything we do, including trellis.
The EPA of America has banned the use of CCA in residential areas and children playgrounds, which suggests an element of risk. Although the agency suggests it is safe for use in business provided the appropriate risk mitigants are taken - (source: http://www.epa.gov/oppad001/reregistration/cca/).
By avoiding externally sourced trellis materials, we are also guaranteeing that we are avoiding chemicals such as CCA (harmful or not, we state neither way). The point here is that we are trying to be a green vineyard and avoid chemicals in all facets (being green is much more than just a label on the bottle). It goes into everything we do. You have to live and breathe it. Believe in it too, as it's not easy!