Nathan Stuart, Shepherd at Tablas Creek Vineyard, manages a flock of Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW), Certified Grassfed by AGW and Certified Non-GMO by AGW sheep across the 120-acre property in the Adelaida District in the Santa Lucia Mountains west of Paso Robles, California.
Named for a small creek running across the property, Tablas Creek Vineyard consists of shallow, rocky limestone soils. The climate lends itself to growing grapes for winemaking, and the AGW-certified sheep, introduced into the vineyard in 2012 along with a mixed grazing herd alpacas and donkeys, are a key part of the farming practices.
The flock of sheep are managed using rotational grazing practices, where the sheep are moved frequently, grazing one area before being moved to the next field. This type of management allows grass to recover before sheep return to graze again; it also keeps the soil properly fertilized and minimizes the build-up of internal parasites, thereby avoiding reliance on chemical treatments. For Tablas Creek Vineyard, this type of management has had positive outcomes not only for animal welfare, but also for the soil. “Managing the sheep well by moving them frequently throughout the vineyard and keeping them in higher concentration is the most incredible way to improve soil,” says Nathan.
In addition to being Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW, the flock of sheep at Tablas Creek Vineyard is Certified Grassfed by AGW, the first—and only—food label in the U.S. and Canada that guarantees food products come from animals fed a 100% grass and forage diet, and raised entirely outdoors on pasture or range. The sheep are also Certified Non-GMO by AGW, the only certification and logo in the U.S. and Canada that guarantees a food product is produced without the use of genetically modified feed, supplements or ingredients, and comes from animals managed according to the Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW leading welfare and environmental standards on an independent farm.
AGW-certified lamb from Tablas Creek Vineyard can be purchased directly from the farm and found at area restaurants. Check AGW’s online directory for more details. For more information, visit tablascreek.com along with the vineyard’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts or contact 805-237-1231 and firstname.lastname@example.org.