Creepy Crawly Appreciation
As the end of October approaches, we like to refer to this time as the "Spooky Season!" In the spirit of this season, we want to express our appreciation for the creepy crawly critters that reside around the Estate. From snakes to spiders, it’s time to share our ode to the odious!
Let’s start with SPIDERS! These little beauties have a bad rap, but that is mostly undeserved. One study out of UC Berkeley found that most spiders (98%) you come across in daily life are completely safe! Additionally, spiders eat the bad bugs that are threats to people and grapevines. In the vineyard, spiders are a fantastic insecticide, making them a natural and sustainable alternative to chemical treatments.
What about the spooky CORVID fiends, crows and ravens? These birds are truly worth admiring. In addition to a wonderful wild ambience, crows cast a watchful eye over the vineyards. When we drop fruit a month prior to harvest, our corvid cleanup crew is quick to clear the rows of the pruned clusters. With a complex social system and peculiarly intriguing intelligence, these avian watchers are welcome to call the Estate their home.
Next, we consider the LIZARDS who can often be spotted scuttling across the rocky soil in the afternoon like the fellow above who was sunning himself among the Petite Sirah vines. In addition to being completely harmless to humans, our lizards are excellent hunters of little pests like slugs and harmful bugs. Lizards are also very delicate creatures, sensitive to soil pollutants (such as chemical treatments) and so the presence of lizards is a good indicator of the vineyard’s health.
We also look to the elusive BOBCATS who make occasional appearances in the vineyard. This photo was taken by our Winemaker, whose home is situated within the Estate vineyards. These beautiful creatures are a top predator for larger pests like squirrels. They are also highly intelligent and naturally balance the food chain by reproducing very sparingly.
The presence of VULTURES is also an important one. Just as corvids pick up decaying fruit, the vultures take care of the even bigger messes with efficiency. This natural janitorial crew is a sustainable garbage disposal, with thorough and quick cleanup. Their work is vital to prevent the spread of decay-borne diseases and, of course, odor.
Lastly, a few slippery, slithery SNAKES also call our soil their home. The scaly resident above was spotted just outside his hole in the Cabernet block on a chilly morning. These creatures reduce the use of pollutants and preserve soil health by preying on mice and other ground pests. Additionally, snakes are an important part of ecological balance. They eat the little pests, but also become snacks for birds of prey.
As a Certified California Sustainable Vineyard, we are careful to pay attention to the health of our vineyard and the critters that call it home. Though the heebie-jeebies may strike, try to thank a creepy crawly today!