The third way we are insuring a healthy start for the vineyard right now is through pest control. Driving through the vineyard, you may have noticed a large crew of workers out there selectively pulling shoots out. No, the shoots aren’t pest-laden, we are simply doing some shoot thinning in the vineyard. “Ok”, you may be thinking, “I thought this post was on pest control- what does ripping out part of the new growth have to do with it?” First off, the tremendous amount of fresh growth we get this time of year is like ringing the dinner bell for a wide variety of pests- mildew, grasshoppers, thrips, mites, etc. Among other things, the process of shoot thinning is used to open up the canopy to allow for air flow and properly filtered sunlight. This counters the various assaults on the vines in two ways. Good airflow and heat help combat mildew. For our more mobile pests like hoppers and mites, an open canopy allows for good penetration when we spray the vineyard. We even combat pests by releasing beneficial insects that prey on those bad pests.
Our approach is an integrated one in which we use sustainable vineyard practices to keep the pests at bay.