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Let grass grow in the vineyards: Why? Part 1

Let grass grow in the vineyards: Why? Part 1

Centenaire vineyard Farquerol Les Cailloux Chateauneuf du Pape

In more recent years, when passing through wine-growing regions, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that more and more vineyards seem to be invaded by grass.

This is not synonymous with abandoned vineyards – on the contrary!

 

This practice is being more frequently undertaken by wine-growers endeavouring to produce quality wine while preserving their terroir.
Grass covering is used for many reasons:

  • It makes the vines compete with each other for water. This forces the vine to plunge deeper into the soil to find the required resources and therefore to draw even more in the terroir,
  • It balances out the yield and improves  grape quality (less grapes = remaining grapes with more sugar content therefore less risk of rotting),
  • It improves the soil bearing capacity, allowing it to be easier to walk on the ground after rain. It therefore limits the creation of a compact hardpan which prevents rain water from penetrating and the ground from breathing,
  • It limits ground erosion by retaining the soil. It promotes biodiversity and soil life.

Grass covering is therefore, from many points of view, an alternative to chemical weed removal and using fertilizers (the decomposing of organic matter creates humus and nitrogen, allowing for plants to grow better).

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