Wineries are wonderful places to visit. Beautiful grounds and facilities. Serene setting. Friendly staff that is like one big family. The first family member to greet visitors to the winery is often the vineyard dog.
Dogs welcome guests and create a sense of home, but have a much larger role in the wine production process. Great wine starts with growing quality grapes. Vines need to be nurtured and protected during the growing season, and the vineyard dog is an essential component.
Winemakers often use netting, noisemakers, flags, and insecticides to protect the vineyard from harmful animals or pests. Netting is effective, but it can be time consuming. Chemicals are not the best option for the environment and food chain. These challenges are leading to the increased use of dogs and other animals to protect vines at the winery. Hunting breeds like the Vizsla are becoming a permanent part of the winemaking process. Look on the Instagram site of Senses Wines, and you will see plenty of pictures of their Vizsla named Lucy in the vineyard.
Dogs are the perfect friend and employee for any winemaker. They deter birds, squirrels, rabbits, and deer that often feast upon grapes. They also eliminate groundhogs, that can be extremely damaging to vines as they eat at the roots. Veritas Winery has been open about its use of dogs in this manner. Honig Winery uses dogs to restrain Mealybugs, the oval shaped insects that feed on vines and encourage rot. Others are starting to incorporate cats and sometimes falcons into their methods to protect vines for an optimal growth period. It is an all natural method that supports higher quality fruit and increased yields.
On your next visit to wine country, bring a few treats for the vineyard dog to say thank you for a job well done.
More wine discussion coming soon to the blog at www.selloproducts.com
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Pictured above is Sello's 1 year old Vizsla, Koby