Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Cover crops/Mustard/Anna

Recommended viewing: The Cork Board recently produced a short video:
Vineyard mustard: just for looks or does it serve a purpose?

It’s a neat little video. In the video, they make the point that mustard, in addition to adding to the beauty of the vineyards, is a cover crop. Much of the mustard you see in the vineyards is an indigenous plant that reseeds itself. But many growers also spread their own blend of cover crop seed, that may or may not include mustard.

I thought that I would expand just a bit on what cover crops are.

Wikipedia does an excellent job explaining cover crops:
Summarizing: Broadly defined, a cover crop is any … plant grown to improve any number of conditions associated with sustainable agriculture. Cover crops are fundamental, sustainable tools used to manage soil fertility, soil quality, water, weeds (unwanted plants that limit crop production potential), pests (unwanted animals, usually insects, that limit crop production potential), diseases, and diversity and wildlife, in agroecosystems. Agroecosystems are ecological systems managed by humans across a range of intensities to produce food, feed, or fiber. To a large degree, humans shape the ecological structure and function of natural processes that occur in agroecosystems. … Farmers choose to grow specific cover crop types and to manage them in specific ways based on their own unique needs and goals.
Every vineyard whose grapes go to Pina Napa Valley is planted with a cover crop. Deciding on what plants should be included in the cover crop blend has become a sophisticated science for premium wine vineyards.
The consulting service that Pina Vineyard Management uses made the following recommendations for our D’Adamo vineyard:

It’s been said that great wines are made in the vineyard. As you can see, the attention given to planting the best cover crops would support that argument.

When pressed, our winemaker said 90% of a wine is made in the vineyard. Sharp cookie, that Anna, and diplomatic, too. Anna is also quite the patriot. She once said that she loves this country. She said that, even though current law would prohibit her from ever becoming president. Why is that?

Is it because of the extremist cult she belonged to in college?
If so, she didn’t mention that on her resume.

Is it because of her anti-war protest arrests of the 60’s?
She wasn’t even born yet.

Is it because she’s married to an I-talian?
No, that would only keep her from getting elected (I sure hope Mario has a good sense of humor).

I’ve asked her to tell that story in a future blog, and I guarantee it will be more interesting than anything you’ve read here today.

Ciao, Ranndy

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