"Because we’re a young vineyard, we haven’t had to address the issue of wine-grape predators. Turkeys, squirrels, possums, and raccoons are pests but Jake is pretty good at spotting them and getting them on the run.”
Oh, how young we were... The above is a line from a blog we wrote in 2014 about bird netting. A year later, we started using netting ourselves.
And now, we’ve learned wine-grape predators are out at night and early, early morning, long before Jake rouses himself. In fact, there’s so much activity that when we take Jake out at night for his last “walk”, we have him on a leash. Otherwise he would chase after anything in the vineyard, with some occasionally unhappy results (Skunk!).
Last year, the 4 to 5 rows closest to a long wall of cyprus trees were decimated by local fauna whose little hands picked fruit out between the small openings of the bird netting. We’re guessing primarily possums and raccoons. They don’t range further in, as it leaves them too exposed to other predators. But then, they didn’t need to, feeding on the ripening fruit closest to their hideout. So this year we draped those rows with a different style of netting that hopefully will discourage their nighttime raids. Of course, Jake had to check it out to be sure it was going to work. We’ll keep our fingers crossed!
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