Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ladybirds welcome.

Vinoland is teeming with ladybirds right now. They can be found out in the vineyard in each of their four stages of development; from eggs, to larvae, to pupal stage (shown above), finally emerging as cheerfully enrobed adults. Hippodamia convergens, commonly known as the convergent lady beetle, is the native ladybird species in this part of northern California. I am very happy to see them in such abundant numbers, it means that our vineyard is a healthy and thriving mini eco-system. The fauna living on the vineyard floor, and up in the canopy, are numerous and diversified.
Some alarmist folks warn of the possible problem of ladybird taint, (certain unpleasant volatile compounds that impair the taste or bouquet of a finished wine), if there are a sufficient number of the insects on winegrapes when they are being processed. In more than a decade of witnessing ton after ton of grapes being processed I can't say I am overly concerned with what would be an extremely rare phenomenon. Lots of spiders and earwigs, that unfortunately do not live to tell their tale, but no ladybirds.

7 comments:

Thud said...

Argh...I forgot about the earwig juice.....keep it away from me.

Thomas said...

Be careful. That rare occurrence took place in the Finger Lakes a couple of years ago--ruined a lot of wine. In fact, we now have a ladybug epidemic twice a year: spring and autumn.

Vinomaker said...

Fortunately the lady bug, as I am used to calling them, population is quite small by the time harvest arrives. It is much more likely to have the harvested grapes contain other critters, none of which appreciate participating in the fermentation process. Because we sort clusters by hand before crushing, anything large enough to affect the finished wine is culled out. Grapes that are mechanically harvested and crushed, on the other hand, may contain a fair amount of snake and rodent by products. Perhaps that is one reason that the giant producers, such as Gallo, don't see their wines receiving many awards for quality.

Percy Weiper said...

I am very fond of the Ladybirds. I have met many in Thailand who look almost....eh?
What?
Not that sort of Ladybirds?

佩春 said...

生存乃是不斷地在內心與靈魂交戰;寫作是坐著審判自己。.................................................................

Thud said...

From above it looks like one of Percys friends from thailand has written.....love you looooong time.

Vinogirl said...

Thud: That was a particularly bad infestation in that particular picking bin!

Thomas: Have not heard of it happening in Napa, but then I don't know all farmers and winemakers. Usually they encourage all vineyard insect carnivores.

VM: Dr. Krebs would correct you (and me for that matter) because they are infact called ladybird beetles.

Percy: I don't even know if I can invite you to Vinsanity, your comment is too creepy!

Thud: Yes, Percy et al are definitely creepy. Freaks and perverts, please stay away from Vinsanity!