Monday, May 14, 2012

Sheep in the Vineyard

I had a request for the use of a photograph I posted of the Wallula Gap area. The photo is to be used on a book regarding the Columbia River Treaty. I took the picture at Wallula Vineyards, a remarkable vineyard of that includes a variety of wine grapes. The vineyard has a bit over 800 feet of elevation difference within the vineyard and soils range from wind blown loess, rocky basalt terraces with thin soils and Missoula Flood gravels. The vineyard is irrigated via water pumped up from the Columbia River.

Tracking down the original photograph and other potential pictures I came across a number of other photos from my time at the vineyard. Lots of cool science going on throughout the vineyards including some interesting experimentation. For one variety of grape grown on trellises sheep are used to control grass height and weeds and to maintain the vine growth direction by trimming off low growing shoots. The process turns grass material into readily available fertilizer and greatly reduces labor. The vineyard managers are working to breed small sheep to control the reach of the sheep. 

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