To control unwanted pests and weeds, California wine producers are forgoing pesticides and opting for beneficial insects, birds and another animals. For instance, owls and bats feed on rodents and insects and therefore provide a natural solution. Many growers also let sheep, ewes and alpacas roam their land, since they graze and leave behind an efficient natural fertilizer.
And instead of throwing out the pomace, vineyards compost it. The practice enriches the soil, helping the vines grow deeper roots that are more resistant to the temperature variations that can occur in California and creating a plant cover between the vines. There are many benefits to compositing: it balances soil composition, increases soil fertility, attracts beneficial insects and prevents erosion. Better yet, it constitutes an insulating layer that protects the ground from late-season frost.