Author: Matt Rice, Director of Tasting Rooms at Europa Village, Certified Specialist of Wine through the Society of Wine Educators, California Wine Appellation Specialist through the San Francisco Wine School.
If you’ve ever passed by a new vineyard you might have noticed the small boxes that look like milk cartons faithfully posted at each vine’s trellis. These are called grow tubes or vine protectors. These little boxes serve a vital role in protecting the vines from the myriad wildlife present on our Europa Village property. We have many wild friends here such as ground squirrels, rabbits, deer, coyotes, gophers, owls, and even a solitary white heron! While not all of these animals will find the vines palatable, the rabbits really see each new vineyard as a smorgasbord of delicious food.
If given the chance, these animals will destroy a new vineyard with impressive rapidity, sometimes taking only a few days to completely decimate new plantings. Thus, the little boxes are placed around every new vine until is mature enough (woody, tall and thick) to discourage any wanton feasting.
So each time you pass a new vineyard and see the boxes take a moment to appreciate the protection they offer the tender young vines. Without them, the vines might only produce a meal for a rabbit and not a delicious wine for us to enjoy!