Written by Johanna Cornelissen
This month we will explore the importance of supporting biodiversity at Malivoire and the practices we undertake to maximize diversity in our ecosystems.
Biodiversity refers to the variety of living species on Earth including plants, animals (including humans), bacteria and fungi. Scientists have estimated that there are around 8.7 million species on Earth (Mora et al, 2011), however, only around 1.2 million species have been identified so far. This means that millions of other organisms remain a complete mystery. As many species are being threatened with extinction due to our changing planet, we will most likely never know many of these species or the role they play in maintaining a healthy planet, until it is too late.
Our goal at Malivoire, is to “leave the land in better condition than we started” (Shiraz Mottiar, Team Principal & GM). This means that every decision we make today, must take into consideration our long-term impact on the health and vitality of the ecosystems in which we belong. By promoting biodiversity, we are striving to achieve ecological balance, healthy soil, fertile vineyards, protect native species and encourage flourishing communities. These are the key practices we are involved in to achieve these goals.
1 - The Malivoire winery and vineyards reside within the Niagara Escarpment viticultural area. We recognize that we share the land with many unique species that also call this area home. Thus, in each of our vineyards we encourage and intermingle with the surrounding natural environment. At the Frost Road vineyard, 10 acres (which equates to ½ of the farm) has been converted over to its natural state, allowing native shrubs and plants to flourish attracting insects, birds, and animals without any human intervention or disruption. At the Cherry Road vineyard, 8 acres have been converted into a wildflower meadow with over a million flowers planted.
2 - Did you know that from one teaspoon of healthy soil, you can find over 1 billion micro-organisms from 10,000 different species (ceh.ac.uk) Healthy soil cycles the major nutrients needed for plant productivity, they protect plants from disease, they purify water, and they sequester CO2, up to three times more than is stored in the atmosphere. To promote healthy soil, we grow cover crops between the rows of vines to enhance nutrient absorption, we spread compost on the vines every spring and we implement a minimal soil disruption strategy by only tilling between rows every 3-6 years, depending on the age of the vines.
3 - To protect the local wildlife who visit our vineyards, we minimize the amount of spraying, and we have eliminated microplastics in the vineyard, using instead biodegradable ties and materials.
4 - Finally, within our greater community, at the winery we continue to strive and learn to make all customers, regardless of ethnicity, gender, identity, and experience feel safe and welcome. Outside our winery, you will find our welcome flag flying demonstrating the pride and trans colours to identify Malivoire as a safe space to visit. We continue to review our wheelchair accessible entrances, washrooms and tasting spaces, to ensure that all needs can be accommodated. Our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee is reviewing ways to identify our washrooms as non-gendered and wheelchair accessible, in a more universal language that can be interpreted by visitors whose first language is not English. In addition, Malivoire recognizes and acknowledges the First Peoples of this land and continues to be educated on Indigenous history and the history of the land to continue to learn how we can best support the First Peoples and the land which we currently reside on.
Mora, C., Tittensor, D. P., Adl, S., Simpson, A. G., & Worm, B. (2011). How many species are there on Earth and in the ocean?. PLoS Biol, 9(8), e1001127.