As nature awakens and the 2014 vintage begins, I wanted to share with you some of the things we do in our vineyards to preserve the delicate balance of an entire ecosystem.
Much of our appellation, Costières de Nîmes, still enjoys a rich biodiversity, which is why it was chosen as one of four sites in France by the European research project BioDiVine, a protocol committed to demonstrating functional biodiversity in viticulture landscapes. For us in particular, we are fortunate to have woods and groves in proximity to our vineyards. In this unique setting, we actively ensure biodiversity by planting legumes between our vineyards’ rows, introducing native ground covers, planting diversified hedges and recreating scrubland groves (pines, oaks, olive trees) in zones abutting our parcels. But why do we do this?
Sensitive to the preservation of fauna and flora, we have come to the realization that an environment consisting only of vines favors some species over others, which guarantees a disequilibrium and vicious outbreaks that require radical methods. As a prolongation of our organic approach, we do everything to make sure that competing species coexist in our vineyards. By keeping numbers sufficiently low, this approach contributes naturally in the protection of our vineyards against diseases and harmful insects. Our vineyards get the added value of tapping into an unpolluted soil. Indeed, as soon as a certain level of diversity is achieved, species overall regulate each other, mammals return because there’s food and earthworms and arthropods till around in the soil.
Armed with my camera, I was able to capture a few scenes showing how alive our vineyards are with birds, mammals (in this case a hare), insects and plants. For you foodies out there, I even found wild leeks…
A view of vineyards from a young pine grove. A butterfly in a field laying fallow. A bustard settling in. Wild leeks. The fur from a hare’s nesting spot. A ladybug among the sainfoin. A chrysalis on a stake. A sun-loving arthropod. A just planted olive tree and a hackberry. Our vines between pines and a peach orchard in flower.
PS : This is only a selection of pictures; if you want more, check out my facebook page www.facebook.com/vignoblesmichelgassier.