Regenerative Viticulture in New Jersey by Mimi Casteel

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Regenerative Viticulture in New Jersey by Mimi Casteel

Join us for a two day workshop with grape farmer Mimi Casteel, a pioneer of farmland restoration through regenerative agriculture in America

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Rutgers University Inn and Conference Center 178 Ryders Lane New Brunswick, NJ 08901

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About this event

Oregon winemaker and viticulturalist Mimi Casteel, national pioneer of regenerative viticulture will visit New Jersey for a two-day conference and conversation presenting her approach to grape growing. The conference will be held December 9th and 10th from 8:30 to 4pm. The agenda outline is below. There will be plenty of opportunities for questions and collaboration. Mimi is a second-generation grape farmer and vigneron at Hope Well Winery, a certified organic vineyard and winery in Salem, Oregon. Named Imbibe Magazine's 2020 Wine Person of the Year, Mimi has been featured on countless wine industry speaking panels and podcasts as an authority on sustainable vineyard practices.

Thursday, December 9th

7:30am- Check-in and Breakfast

8:30am- Introduction to Regenerative Philosophy- During this session, we will dive into the tenets of a regenerative philosophy, and its evolutionary and ecological foundations.

10am- Carbon 101- Here we explore biogeochemical cycles, particularly the Carbon cycle, but also investigate how Carbon links with other nutrient cycles. We will discuss soil Carbon, and the potential of agriculture in rebalancing Carbon and impacting the climate cycle. Lastly we will cover agronomic practices, notably tillage and plowing, and how these practices impact Carbon in the soil and atmosphere.

11:30am- Lunch & Wine Tasting- byob to share

1pm- The Soil Biome- We will review soil webs and the interconnections that all life depends on. We will explore critical relationships between plants, soil flora and soil fauna, including the most critical organisms that impact vineyard ecosystems. Mycorrhizae, beneficial soil invertebrates and the impacts of our practices on these organisms will be thoroughly discussed.

2:30pm- Day 1 concluding remarks and Q&A

Friday, December 10th

7:30am- Check-in & Breakfast

8:30am- Plant Physiology Essentials- We will discuss plant physiology specifically related to perennial systems, the evolutionary history of Vitis vinifera, and the implications for modern management.

10am- Soil Chemistry & Soil Biology: How They are Related and How They Interact- We will cover some basics of soil chemistry and biology, and how they influence one another. We will also cover vineyard inputs like herbicides and other pesticides, and their fate in the soil. This will flow into a discussion of vineyard floor management, and decision making for management goals and maximizing soil health, and finally we will look at how these decisions ultimately influence sense of place in wine.

12pm- Lunch & Wine Tasting- byob to share

1pm- Climate Change in the Region- A visit of the climate trends in New Jersey, courtesy of Co-Op Executive Director John Cifelli, BS, Meteorology, as segue into a discussion of vineyard adaptations to increase on-farm resilience.

2pm- Questions, Let's Have Lots of Them!- Two hour opportunity for an open discussion, questions and concerns, it's an open floor. Share photos in advance to be displayed on screen during this thoughtful group discussion with Mimi. Topics may include your spray program, cultural practices and labor challenges, weed control methods, or any other topic you may wish to be discussed.

Conference admission is $40 for Thursday or Friday and $70 for both days. Participation is limited to 60 people each day. At this time, two attendees per winery/vineyard will be welcome. Continental breakfast and lunch will be served each day and is included. Overnight accommodations at the Inn can be booked individually for $135/night. All questions should be directed to Executive Director of The Winemakers Co-Op John Cifelli at