The Gray family is committed to protecting and enhancing the MoonSprings environment. As stewards of this beautiful piece of creation, we considerate it our privilege and responsibility to preserve and protect the land, the water, the trees, the air, and the wildlife. Through regenerative farming techniques, our goal is to grow the best grapes in a way that improves the land for all creatures that make MoonSprings Vineyard® their home. The vineyard holds memberships in the Central Coast Vineyard Team and the California Association of Winegrape Growers and is in the process of obtaining sustainability certifications from the same. However, we want to elevate the MoonSprings environment, not merely sustain it. It has been an honor to transform a dormant piece of land into an agriculturally productive property without altering its environmental imprint or displacing its original inhabitants.
Our professional team led by Neil Roberts of Roberts Vineyard Services is committed to a regenerative method of farming at MoonSprings. By protecting and rejuvenating topsoil, enhancing biodiversity, managing brush, and improving the watercycle, MoonSprings vintners are protecting the land from dangerous fires, increasing its resilience to climate change, and strengthening the health and vitality of the vineyard. Our orchard, olive grove, walnut trees, cover crops, blueline plantings, majestic oaks, goats, dogs, cats, sheep, cattle, bees, owls, bats, and even our snakes create a symbiotic synergy resulting in better soil, a better environment, and ultimately better grapes.
The vineyard has been planted around the natural oak woodlands. A certified arborist keeps the oaks properly pruned for their health and to insure none are damaged by equipment used on the vineyard. No oak trees have been removed to create MoonSprings Vineyard®, and they never will be.
Non-chemical methods of pest control are being used throughout MoonSprings. Over sixty-five owl boxes are in place to establish a population of owls for natural rodent control. Habitats for bats and small birds are being installed to control vine-damaging insects. Vineyard chickens also play their part by eating insects and providing agrarian fertilizer. In some parts of the vineyard clove oil is used to control weeds while in other parts of the property weeds are pulled by hand. Natural soil additives such as compost, compost tea, and fish emulsion are applied through the driplines to enhance plant health and create soils that are active in biological organisms. Our flowering cover crops not only bring joy to the beholder but also attract beneficial insects.
Controlling underbrush is a vital aspect of fire prevention at MoonSprings. Visitors might see our goat herd, and their canine caretakers Templeton & York, happily grazing our blue-line and forest areas for efficient and environmentally friendly fire control. Cattle also assist in keeping combustible vegetation to a minimum during the summer when the danger of fire is greatest. In the winter when the vines are dormant, 350 sheep and their lambs do double duty “mowing” the cover crop between the rows and fertilizing the soil.
A comprehensive erosion control and water protection plan, developed by a team of engineers and approved by the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Resource Conservation District, has been implemented throughout MoonSprings Vineyard®. We use a variety of applications including cover crops composed of erosion prevention seed mix, bio-disposable straw waddles, straw netting, blown straw, and silt fences to protect our MoonSprings soil from erosion.
MoonSprings is maximizing the replenishment of our aquifer by capturing a substantial portion of the runoff rainfall from the 330+/- acre watershed that flows into the vineyard’s main valley. While planning the vineyard, multiple water wells were dug around the property. A side benefit to these wells is that the perimeter of the aquifer underlying the majority of MoonSprings has been identified.
Minimizing the use of water is paramount; MoonSprings Vineyard® is projected to be substantially dry farmed within four years. By utilizing the latest computerized monitoring and management technologies, irrigation will be used only if, as, and when needed during the establishment of the vineyard. The irrigation technicians at MoonSprings Vineyard® have developed a state-of-the-art system where water is delivered literally plant by plant. The system includes soil moisture probes and other plant-based monitoring devices to determine how much water is required, with flow meters on each well and the two main water lines to ensure that precisely the amount of water needed is delivered. The entire vineyard has drip emitters for each vine, double drip lines for water conservation, and hillside blocks split with separate valves for the top and bottom, all of which are tied into an automated system which is constantly monitored both on property and remotely. Water will be stored in seven 10,000-gallon tanks to allow periods of rest for the wells and to eliminate the evaporation problematic with reservoirs.
We are committed to protecting the numerous blue line streams, natural springs, and creeks that run through MoonSprings Vineyard® As part of our erosion and water conservation plan, all of the rock retrieved from cultivating the property is being used for permanent erosion control and water purification through the installation of silting dams in the drainages throughout the vineyard.
In addition to producing world-class grapes, we grow a variety of other crops for both commercial and community consumption. While the 150 olive trees lining the main road into the vineyard are lovely, they also produce up to 2,000 pounds of olives which will be brined or pressed into oil. Our fruit orchard is planted with Trees of Antiquity (certified organic heirloom stock) including apple, pear, plum, persimmon, cherry, and peach. In addition, we grow avocados, blueberries, blackberries, and figs. Citrus trees grace the highest elevation on the property where they are protected from frost. With any luck MoonSprings will produce crops of oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes, and grapefruit. Bees are a vital and endangered part of a healthy ecosystem; our team has placed approximately 200 beehives on the property. The MoonSprings apiary will boost our bee population, pollinating our fruit trees and providing a source for delicious local honey.
One section of the vineyard has been set aside for the heritage walnut trees planted by the Martin Family who owned the land for generations before the Grays acquired it in 2016. Another section is dedicated to a community garden, which is available for planting and harvesting by anyone and everyone working or living at MoonSprings Vineyard®.
MoonSprings, with its beautiful oaks, is and will continue to be a wildlife wonderland for the deer, hawks, eagles, condors, bobcats, snakes, and bear that live under its moss-draped canopy. Of the 515 acres, no more than one third is planned for vineyard use. The remaining 300 acres will remain in their natural state; deer fencing is limited to the vineyard areas, and a wildlife corridor spans from one side of the property to the other allowing wildlife migration patterns to remain minimally affected.