31 May 2011

Roses in the Vineyards

This past weekend, in our little corner of the world, we had "Cantine Aperte" or Open Wineries to enjoy. About 40 wineries in our province of Abruzzo opened their doors for folks to come and sample their wines, their food and their hospitality. I went with my husband and some friends to see our beautiful countryside on glorious, clear, warm days and get to know the wines in our region better. 

Many of these wineries are family owned and handed father to son or daughter down the generations. Wines were shared proudly and information was given so that we could appreciate the subtleties we might miss otherwise. This grandfather, in business with his two daughters, posed with obvious pride with his granddaughter who gave us the tour of their winery and has decided to pursue their business as well. She was a delight.

They had items  showcasing their hands - on approach to wine making and aging in bottles rather than casks. Their label is added at the end by the 80 year old grandmother who first decants the wine to another bottle to eliminate any sediment. Now that's a family affair. I thought about how wonderful it is to have a business that the next generation can get excited about and work alongside elders while developing their own passion and expertise. 

One of the things I noticed as we went from winery to winery were the roses planted either at the end of each row of grapevines or, at least, in the vicinity. Do you know why these roses are planted in or near vineyards? It turns out that roses are susceptible, but more so, to the same type of fungus (powdery mildew and downy mildew) as the grapevines. If the roses show signs of disease, the vines are quickly treated (with sulfur or copper sulphate) lest they become infected, too. An elegant early warning system. Roses also attract beneficial insects that prey upon the insects that are harmful to the grapevines. Plus, of course, they're beautiful in their own right.

The soil and grapevines are monitored scientifically, nowadays, making the roses probably unnecessary and there are some who say that this tradition is based on a myth. But the tradition persists in some vineyards and certainly adds an extra touch of beauty. What a lovely tradition.

What a lovely weekend.


  1. Well, I can certainly think of less good reasons to plant roses! What a wonderful bit of trivia, and how lovely it all is!

  2. Those roses add color and interest too.

  3. Lapo had roses in his vineyard in Cortona! Oh, how I miss that place.....

  4. Awesome photos and info. Makes me anxious for next summer. The new neighbors across from us recently told me they're using their big parcel of land to create a vineyard. This year they're starting small, with only 50 planted near their house (where I can't really see them) but the plan is for 4,200 next summer. I can't wait to have a few similar to the beauties you just shared!

  5. Any tradition that causes roses to be planted, myth or not, is a viable tradition in my book.

  6. Krissa, I found the info interesting, too, as I researched it.
    Rosaria, Some of them were so full and beautiful.
    Lauren, Cortona has some great "boutique" wineries. Italy used to be called "Enotria"- land of wine- so every area has its own.
    Lisa, From what I've seen, they're uniformly lovely. They're doing more and more here with organic as well. I like vineyards and olive groves as neighbors.
    Lou, D'accordo!

  7. You have such a lovely blog, and you live in such a wonderful place! I am glad to visit it, even if it is only virtually. I'll toast you with a glass of great wine!

  8. We noticed the same roses in the wine country of California. Now I know why! Thanks for the tour. What a lovely day.

  9. DJan, And if you're ever in Italy, stop by and we'll toast together.
    Nancy, It was indeed. It's fun to learn new things as well.

  10. We were in Italy last fall. One of the most beautiful places on earth!

  11. This was quite interesting. I never knew about the roses being planted in the vineyards.

    Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos with us.

  12. I learned that last year in the Alexander Valley in California. There are roses everywhere. I love that. Great pictures. I love Italy.

  13. Linda, I agree.
    Sally, Your welcome.
    AM, I lived in No. CA for 14 years and love the Alexander Valley and its wines. This world has so many beautiful places.


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