Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Napa Valley, California

A couple of months ago while touring Napa Valley sampling the wines, enjoying the fantastic restaurants and scenery, I noticed there were rose bushes planted along the rows of vines. Even though it was November, I could still see the remnants of roses - some red - some white. Curiosity got the better of me and I began checking out every single vineyard we visited, and saw rose bushes in many of them. Was this just an attempt to make the vineyard more pleasing to the eye, or was there another reason? On further inquiry, it seems that black spot, powdery mildew, bugs and flies often attack the rose bushes before entering the vineyard. If a grape grower sees bugs on the rose bushes, he has a chance to spray the pesky insects and fungus before they do much damage to the crop. In essence, the rose bushes act as the first line of defense against such troubles. Nowadays I understand there are much more sophisticated ways to determine the conditions of the vineyard by taking soil samples, water samples, etc. to monitor the health of the vines, but the rose bushes are still there...perhaps just in case.