At this time of year the way people choose to cultivate their vineyards becomes very obvious. The two virtual deserts in the pictures above are some of our neighbours' vineyards, one is organic!
We choose to herbicide a very narrow strip right under the vines leaving the wildflowers and beneficial insects to thrive everywhere else. This means you can have orchids,poppies, bluebells etc growing all amongst the vine rows. The butterflies, moths, bees need the flowers and up the food chain the swallows and flycatchers need the insects.
Paragraph. Bird life is at its most exciting right now. Nightingales keep us awake at night with their 'pew,pew,pew' from the lime tree right outside our bedroom window. In the day hoopoes and golden orioles vie with cuckoos for the most mellifluous sounds
Yesterday massive storms ripped our almond tree in half but luckily the vines with their flowers and the oaks and lime trees were OK.
In the foreground is a stem clean of shoots below the vine head. At this time of year the main job is to remove all the shoots lower down. back breaking on these young Semillon. Maybe we will soon develop the characteristic bent over back of the older peasants. Maybe a new career modelling for road signs!
Wild orchids are all around the vineyard now, in the vine rows and beside the track.
Sue Temperley writes the Wine and Wildlife blog.