Sunday, May 01, 2011

Early warning system

Before you start thinking that the roof of our bodega is bristling with antennae and satellite dishes, that is not exactly what I mean. Yes, I do have a small Oregon Scientific weather station sitting on my desk, but I am actually talking about something much more low-tech, but nonetheless effective..... rose bushes.

I am convinced that the vast majority of people believe that roses are present in many a vineyard simply to add a splash of colour, but perhaps I should explain that this is not the only reason. Of course it's true they do add a touch of colour, but their function is actually much more important - they act as an early warning system to the vigneron.

Rose bushes are susceptible to many of the same diseases as grape vines, and in most cases are actually more sensitive. The indicators for oidium, mildew etc are more likely to appear on the roses before our vines become infected, and we can therefore leap into action with the appropriate preventative measures pretty much before the problem takes hold.

The picture above was taken a day or so ago in our El Pazo vineyard - not only do you notice the advanced years of our vines, but you can also clearly see the vigorous growth for the time of year. Could be another early harvest.

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