It is clear that we have many unique challenges at Apu Winery, as the thin air, intense sunlight, and extreme temperature fluctuations impact the health and productivity of our vines. To combat these challenges, we have implemented a number of sustainable practices, including using guinea pig (known as “cuy” in Peru) manure as fertilizer.
Guinea pigs have long been a staple of the Peruvian diet and economy, and they are commonly raised in rural households throughout the country. Their manure is rich in nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, all of which are essential for plant growth. For centuries, Peruvian farmers have used guinea pig manure to fertilize their crops, and now, we are following suit.
We collect the guinea pig manure from local households and compost it for several months before being spread in the vineyard. The composting process helps to eliminate any pathogens or harmful bacteria that may be present in the manure, while also breaking down the organic matter and releasing the nutrients that the vines need.
Since implementing this practice, we have seen improved soil health and increased grape yields. The manure helps to improve the soil's water retention, allowing the vines to better withstand the arid conditions. Additionally, the nutrients in the manure help to nourish the vines and promote healthy growth.
In conclusion, using guinea pig manure as fertilizer in a high-altitude vineyard in Peru is a sustainable and effective way to improve soil fertility and promote healthy plant growth. It is a traditional practice that has been used for generations and is now being rediscovered as a valuable tool in modern agriculture. By incorporating this natural fertilizer into our farming practices, we will continue to produce high-quality grapes and world-class wines for generations to come.