On display at Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery are twelve wood carvings – one for each month of the year – each depicting an important part of the winemaking lifecycle. We’re diving into each month and where winemakers have traditionally kept their focus during that time in our editorial series, The Vintner’s Calendar.
Sebastiani’s Vintner’s Calendar wood carving for July illustrates the process of Sulphuring the Vines.
Sulfur (also spelled sulphur) is still widely used in almost every vineyard operation from conventional to organic farming for control of Powdery Mildew. It is an effective fungicide because the powdery mildew cannot become tolerant or resistant to it and it is pretty low impact environmentally.
Sulfur is such an effective pest control method that it really hasn’t changed much except for the formulation and application methods. For example, most people probably don’t use metal backpack sprayers with bellows anymore. 😉 There are a few forms of the sulfur like “dust” (a powdered form which has probably been used for over 1000 years!), a powder formulation which can be mixed with water. The dust is just shot out of an air-blower and settles onto everything and the liquid is sprayed and can be used with many other products like fertilizers. This method gets better coverage than the dust with less drift. We imagine they used pretty pure forms of “S” back in the day but we now make formulations that have other inert or non-active ingredients that help with application or solubility of the sulfur itself.