Grasses between the vineyard rows: Why we mow them before harvest.

Grasses grow spontaneously between the rows of our vines. Now is the time we mow them.

There are a number of reasons that grape growers and winemakers allow plants to grow spontaneously between the rows of our vines.

The number-one reason is that their natural growth encourages and supports biodiversity in the vineyards. That’s such a key element in the approach to the winemaking at Bele Casel. The Bele Casel winery and the Ferraro family do not call themselves “natural winemakers” (even though many other do refer to them as such). But their approach is centered around and focused on improving the health of the soils and the vineyards by encouraging biodiversity. The concept is very simple: The more live that thrives in the vineyards, the better the quality of the grapes and consequently, the better the quality of the wines that they make.

Another reason why grape growers and winemakers allow spontaneously plants to grow between the rows is that those plants “compete” with the vines for water and nutrients. As the grasses absorb and consume water and nutrients, the vines have to “struggle” all the more to obtain what they need. As a result, their fruit gets richer and richer. It is kind of like the way that a muscle grows with exercise. The more you use the muscle, the bigger it gets. This is called vine “vigor” in wine parlance. And it makes for higher quality wine. (There are other factors that can contribute to this like the age of the vines and the depth of the water table, for example.)

So why is that the Ferraros mow the grasses at this time of year?

The answer to that it is very, very simple. It makes it a heck of a lot easier to move between the rows and pick the grapes!

Author: Bele Casel

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