Protective netting around the vines, the sounds of gunshots or recorded sounds of birds of prey are just 3 ways we saw wine grape growers naturally (here are links describing other sustainable farming methods our’s and other vineyards use) protecting their precious crop this time of year. Birds know when the grapes are ripe and a flock of starlings can clean a large vineyard out in a matter of hours–yikes! At Lauterbach vineyards, recording devices playing the calls of raptors and starlings in distress are utilized to protect the grapes from birds. Mr. Lauterbach says they have not had any significant grape loss to birds since they were first installed. The sound boxes, strategically placed around the vineyard, are doing their job quite efficiently. They are hardly noticeable, require very little effort or energy and are pleasing to the ear. Above you can view a short video (sorry for the amateur nature) of these in Lauterbach vineyard
On a related note, I recently visited the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek with an old friend from high school and our kids. They have a fabulous collection of live raptors that have been injured in the wild and brought there for rehabilitation and display–these birds are truly incredible to see close up. It would be great to have live raptors that we could count on to completely protect the vineyards…but, alas, we are happy with the very cool sound boxes in Lauterbach Vineyards that are doing their job.