Vineyards and roses a perfect pairing
Ever found yourself passing a vineyard with beautiful rose bushes standing proudly at the end of each row and wondered why? Why are roses planted at the end of vineyard rows? Let’s take a look.
Roses and vines are a beautiful partnership in the world of wine growing that originally came about for very practical reasons.
“Rose bushes were historically planted at the end of the vine rows as an early detection system,” says Wine Selectors Tasting Panellist Dave Mavor, a winemaker himself. “You see, roses are susceptible to the same problems as grapevines – problems like diseases, fungus and pests – which tend to attack the roses before the vines as they are more sensitive.”
Practically then, roses became a handy early warning system for winegrowers of any environmental threats to their vines, much like the way canaries were traditionally used in coal mines as detectors of dangerous gases.
By strategically planting rose bushes at the end of vineyard rows, viticulturalists were alerted to problems early and could take action to prevent or treat threats like black rot, mildew, or pests before the vines were damaged. As you can imagine, this warning system helped protect the health of the vines and prevented loss of crops.
Another common theory is that having rose bushes in the vineyard helped stop horses from coming too close to the vines. As they worked in the fields around the vineyards, the sharp thorns of the rose bushes acted as a deterrent, protecting the vines.
Today, modern technology and science allow winegrowers greater insight into the health of their vines and soil, so this early warning system is not as pertinent.
“Having roses adjacent to vines was practical and also a romantic notion that is less relevant today perhaps,” says Mavor, “but it is still practiced for cosmetic reasons. And why not, they do look great after all!”
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