SOIL HEALTH & BIODIVERSITY
The good news is that grape growers utilize fewer pesticides* than many agricultural sectors. Napa Green works with members to ensure they adhere to a list of 56 Prohibited pesticides (RED light – most of which have not been in use for some time) and 15 restricted pesticides (YELLOW light). Napa Green is a stepping stone toward organic, but provides more flexibility in our ever more chaotic environment.
More and more we want to turn to nature as an ally, maximizing Integrated Pest Management (IPM). This means using cover crops that attract beneficial insects that eat the nasty bugs we don’t want in the vineyard, or even releasing vineyard-friendly insects like ladybugs. This also includes putting up bluebird and owl boxes and raptor perches, to help with bugs, rodents, and scare away unwelcome birds that eat the grapes, like starlings.
We also have to recognize that “weeds” are a human construct. Sometimes we are battling weeds for purely aesthetic reasons. In the farm setting, we need to return to seeing some “wild” as beautiful.