Tongue River Winery         

                       Quality Made Wines with fruit exclusively from the Northern Plains!  


Nets all in place

Posted on August 19, 2010 at 10:57 PM

Our first year we netted, we figure we lost 1/2 the crop to birds anyway.  The robins worked from the bottom, the brown thrashers from the top, and if there was even a teensy hole in the netting, the American finches found their way in.  We had nets wrapped directly over each row and tied underneath.  It was comical to see the thrashers jumping up and down on the net and leaves, to press things down enough so that they could peck the grapes right through the netting!


Now we use an overhead net system that is a good 3 feet above the vineyard, like one giant ceiling, with the birds totally excluded unless we miss closing the seams at the corners where the side curtains meet (and the torn places that have developed....)  It is so peaceful to walk beneath the netted ceiling and enjoy a totally bird-free zone.


The last two years, the finches have shown up by the dozens (or maybe 100s)  about the time of veraison— the coloring of the grapes...., and after about two days of NOT getting inside, they simply leave for the rest of the season and never come back!  Now that's a bird I can love!


I have seen robins eat fresh earthworms from Marilyn's hand in the spring when she's pulling weeds, and I LOVE them!  I have seen robins eating our grapes, our sand cherries, our raspberries in August and I HATE them!  By putting up the netting, I can now at least tolerate them.  You can see our netting arrangement on the vineyard photo album.