Vineyard biodiversity can help protect terroir–the environmental qualities that produce the extraordinary grapes of the Bordeaux region.
Improving vineyard biodiversity has many benefits. It helps to keep vine pests and diseases in check while reducing soil erosion and agrochemical runoff. Perhaps most importantly, a more natural approach to wine growing may help vintners to maintain terroir––the qualities specific to this land that make Bordeaux wines what they are. The soil, geography, climate, and other characteristics of the local area contribute to its terroir, and there is an increasing desire among wine producers to preserve the natural features associated with this terroir.
Many “farmscaping” techniques, including creating hedgerows and encouraging ground cover between vine rows, have been implemented to benefit biodiversity, but the impacts of these techniques are not often assessed or understood. On this project, based at Château les Vergnes, Gironde, researchers and Earthwatch volunteers developed and tested the feasibility of simple, fast, yet scientifically reliable biodiversity measurements for birds, insects, and plants.