Inside each vineyard there is a potential for greatness, but before the grape clusters are transformed into wine, they must first survive the elements. Insects, animals and weather all threaten the health of the vines and their ability to thrive and produce delicious grapes. Fortunately, wineries have a few tricks to protect their vineyards. From bud break to harvest, we uncovered the tactics most commonly used by wineries in Missouri.
Bird Busters Birds love eating grapes as much as winemakers enjoy turning them into delicious wines. In an attempt to keep birds from creating too much damage in the vineyard, wineries use a variety of ploys, including reflective tapes, wind flappers, bird calls and moving owls. Noise scare tactics like popguns and predator calls can also be an effective way to keep birds away. Some Missouri wineries place nets over their vines. Secured tightly to eliminate any holes, this tactic even keeps birds from flying underneath the bottom of the net.
Good fences make great neighbors. Deer fences can be an effective way to keep animals out of vineyards. These fences are durable and tall enough to stop deer from jumping over them. Electric fences can also deter deer from wandering into a vineyard for a snack.
Flower Power Although not as common of a practice as it used to be, some wineries plant rose bushes at the end of their vineyard rows. While the blossoms add beauty to a winery’s lush landscape, they also serve a special role. These plants can alert winery staff to issues taking place in the vineyard. Rose bushes tend to show stress first, so vineyard managers can act quickly to protect their vines. Roses and grapevines are susceptible to a couple of the same types of fungus. The flowers on a rose bush can also act as a deterrent to insects that find the grapes hard to resist.
Soap Secrets Deer have a very strong sense of smell. Surrounding vineyards with highly-scented, tallow-based soaps can be an effective way to keep those pesky animals at bay. This tricks tends to work better in areas where there are smaller amounts of deer.
Hidden or in plain sight, wineries employ tactics like these to ensure a better selection of grapes at harvest time. With a winemaker’s steady eye and gentle coaxing, the grapes will begin their transformation into delicious wine. We hope you have the opportunity to explore their fabulous array of wines the next time you’re in Missouri wine country.