Why Do Vineyards Need Bees?
Over the past few years, bees have been getting quite a bit of attention, and rightfully so! These small winged fluffy creatures are extremely important to agriculture. Many people fall under the common misconception that bees pollinate flowers and then lose track of where they go from there. But bees affect many things. Think about it, just about every single person on the planet is affected by bees. Have you eaten blueberries before? Watermelon, tomatoes, nuts, apples, avocados? All of these, and many more, are pollinated by bees.
Bees play a vital role in sustaining healthy vineyard ecosystems and you may be surprised to learn why.
Since grapevines possess both male and female reproductive parts, they can self-pollinate and don’t require external pollination. Surrounding the grapevines, however, are cover crops, which rely on bees for pollination to proliferate. In turn, cover crops help prevent soil erosion, improve and increase organic soil matter, and suppress weeds.
Cultivating a diverse ecosystem.
Vineyards are typically grown as a monoculture, meaning a single crop is planted on the same land season after season, which can lead to soil degradation and reduced biodiversity unless additional measures are taken. Because grapevines are perennial plants that can live for over 100 years, they pose a viable opportunity to create diverse ecosystems.
By employing practices, such as cover cropping, we can build vineyard ecosystems rich in diversity.
Back to bees-ness.
Bees help combat the monocultural nature of a vineyard by pollinating the plants and cover crops, such as mustard and clover, that grow around the grapevines. In turn, cover crops promote health soil by improving or maintaining soil organic matter and play a vital role in combating climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
In recent years, bee populations throughout North America and Europe have declined. We believe we must provide a stable, safe environment for bees to thrive because it means we’re supporting our land and the future generations to come. We’re proud that our American Canyon vineyard is home to a thriving bee population that coexists symbiotically with the surrounding environment. These small buzzing creatures not only fertilize our cover crops, fruit trees, and vegetable gardens, but they also have a safe space to live.
Wine is the product of a tightly integrated ecosystem with a complex and delicate balance. To create great wines, we have to maintain this balance by taking special care of the vines. More biodiversity means better conditions and a healthier ecosystem results in higher quality grapes.
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