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Let The Goose Loose

Chilean producer Cono Sur has come up with a number of enterprising ways of getting rid of pests in the vineyard, without resorting to powerful insecticides. Many wine producers are faced with a number of undesirable bugs that can damage vines in various ways, whether that is gnawing their way through vine shoots, or even chomping through rootstocks. Cono Sur MD Adolfo Hurtado explains to societynews how his winery tackles them: ‘One potential problem is the burrito, a beetle that eats vine shoots,’ he says. ‘To combat this, we paint the trunk of each vine with a mixture of grease, garlic, and glue.

‘The burrito doesn’t like the smell of the garlic and it can’t climb the vine because of the glue,’ says Hurtado. They then get gobbled up by the 900 geese that roam the vineyards. The geese, however, are kept away from the vines at harvest time, to prevent them from snacking on bunches of ripe grapes. Another nuisance is the red spider, a bug that lives on the back of leaves and drinks the sap. To combat this, grass is grown between alternate rows of vines. The grass makes an ideal winter habitat for the bigger, white spider, neoseiulus chilenses, which eats up the red spiders in the summer.

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