Ezra Cipes
April 1, 2014 | Meet the Growers, Permaculture & Biodynamic, Winemaking | Ezra Cipes

Deer Fence

This picture of a buck quite at home in the middle of our parking lot was taken in November 2012:

 Buck in front of Pyramid

Later that winter, the buck and his family ate an entire block of Chardonnay hanging on the vine for icewine. The next spring they nibbled all of the green growth from the newly planted vineyard blocks:

Fenced in Vineyard

Summerhill Vineyard was first planted to grapes in the 1940s, and it has never been fenced. The property has always contained multiple nature habitats, both wetland and dry gully preserves, as well as a meadow area. We have always considered the property to be a nature preserve along with being a farm. However, with the development all around our farm, and the proliferation of deer fencing around nearby properties, the pressure that the dear deer have exerted has become too much, and we have decided to fence the vineyard to keep them out.

Workers Putting up Fence

The dry gully, where the deer seem to spend most of their time, will be outside the fenceline, but the wetland preserve will now be enclosed. This will have serious repercussions for the ecosystem, which we can't pretend to understand or accurately predict. We will do our best to keep the deer out, but assume the coyote will be able to traverse the cattle gaurds and will remain as predators for small mammals... or at least we hope they will remain.

This was a big decision, with much pulling of hair and gnashing of teeth. We don't take these things lightly. However, after sustaining significant losses due to deer pressure over the last three seasons consecutively, we have to deal the economic realities of farming.

Here are some more pics of the dry gully and the fenceline:

Habitat in the Dry Gully

Tree in the Dry Gully

Posts being used to fence off the Dry Gully





Carola Klink's Gravatar
Carola Klink
@ Apr 9, 2015 at 4:39 PM
Hello, working my way through your website and loving it! My kind of place and people, refreshing and very impressive. I grew up organic and so did my children. So happy and proud that my son Jonas is working for you in this absolutely amazing environment. At last he landed somewhere where he can relate and is happy! I reckon he'd love fresh (well hung) home grown venison on the menu. My dad and family were hunters, so venison was always on the menu and still is in Germany with my family. I am looking very much forward to visit next year in 2016. Cheers and warm regards from autumn Adelaide in South Australia. Mama Klink xx

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