Let’s start from an article by Lucy Shaw for The Drinks Business regarding 10 animals mostly used in the vineyards around the world, and then I will propose my 6 vineyard animals for Italian wineries
The English portal as always is a source of inspiration, I advise you to consult it often. The Drinks Business proposes 10 animals that, somewhere around the world, help mankind to keep the vineyards in perfect equilibrium.
In succession find geese, bats, Babydoll sheep, dogs, pigs, horses and mules, bees, armadillos, birds of prey and chicken.
Let’s ignore the bats, that after gifting us with the Corona virus I find even more off-putting. I feel it is best not to help them proliferate and most of all keep them away from human beings.
Dog too I fear are not a good idea. In Spain they use terriers to hunt the mice and rats. Here we could use the Maremma Sheepdogs to scare off wild boar and roebuck. The only problem is the aggressiveness of these dogs, which without a fence, might also attack people. But, once fenced off the vineyards it would be useless to get a dog to protect the grapes as the ungulates wouldn’t be able to get in anyway.
We shall also exclude pigs. In Australia they use a spurred cordon method that keeps the plant high so the small Kunekune pigs cannot reach the grapes, but the Italian breeds of pigs would be perfectly able to reach them. Regarding the armadillos, we shall not even consider them, apart from the problem in finding them; they also like to eat grapes.
So here is my list of 6 animals for the Italian vineyards:
GEESE IN THE VINEYARDS
In Chile the Cono Sur winery has geese and in total 1.000 birds in the vineyards to eat the parasites.