Many winemakers in one of the main South Australian growing regions, McLaren vale have for many years fought the battle against the local bird population and continually high temperatures. Netting grapes has always be a long time consuming and costly exercise for many, especially when the vineyard is located on sloping or hilly ground!
The cost in the purchase of the nets themselves, is also a problem.
Aloe Vera Juice an organic solution to birds
Now a new natural organically produced local product has come to the rescue. 99% pure aloe vera juice has been used extensively in Europe and California for many years in protecting the grapes not only as a bird repellent but also as a sunscreen spritz. “Being a natural alternative, it doesn’t affect the grape in anyway and because of its bitter taste in its natural form, the birds don’t like it either”—says local producer Jim Seamer from A J Products. It is clean, simple and easy to apply, at various different rates, early trails have been impressive, as more vineyards look at trying to reduce their overall costs but improve their yields.
Thanks for the prompt delivery of the Aloe Vera juice which enabled us to complete the spraying of the vineyard. As you may be aware I follow where ever possible organic/biodynamic principles within the vineyard operations.
Some four years ago I was introduced to Frank Velperio by a contract wine maker who was working with his group at Ashbourne Hills Wines. In discussions with Frank and after visiting him to see first hand his practices and operations I adopted the practice of spraying Aloe Vera juice as a deterrent to bird attack on ripening grape berries. Previously I had used a bird netting system but the cost to fit and retrieve plus the difficulties of managing irrigation and other factors whilst the nets were in place created many challenges. Having tractor access to the grape rows as a result of the dramatic climate patterns including prolonged heat waves and high rainfall events that have occurred in recent years during ripening has been most beneficial.
We also believe that the Aloe Vera has acted as a sunscreen during days of extreme temperature.
As a small vineyard (by McLaren Vale standards) we have been encouraged by our success in recent wine shows and commercial wine tastings where our 2012 Shiraz was accepted into the Scarce Earth group of wines and awarded a Silver Medal in the McLaren Vale Wine Show.
Creeper Wines SA