I’ve mentioned in previous blogs about our research in conjunction with Sussex University on parasitic wasps and enhancing general biodiversity on the vineyard. Janine is undertaking the Phd research under the watchful eye of Professor Dave Goulson and the ground has been prepared and sown with the various mixtures. Sounds easy.
It is if you have a Cam and a Rick. The New Zealand duo managed to calculate the various seed mix rates, size of seed and prepare the ground for the project to get up and running – huge thanks from me and a great relief that it is over for them!
So now the block of vines adjacent to the Flint Barns looks like an elongated chess board. Either side of a vine row we have a series of mixtures including parasitoid mix, pollen and nectar mix, natural regeneration and just grass to name a few.
The image above shows normal grass mix on the left with a parasitoid mix on the right. The mix is of particular flowers and plants which we have chosen for their attraction to parasitic wasps. These tiny wasps will then feed off the insects we do not wish to have on our vines e.g. we are using nature as a biological control.
Janine can now continue her sampling and monitoring of each row. Using various methods of collection from pots to nets we hope to calculate which mix of wild flowers is best at attracting the parasitic species we require.
In the mean time wildlife on the Estate has really woken up with orchids, glow worms and general wild flowers and their associated insects bursting into life. I’ll keep you posted on these and the research project via my Twitter feed @rathfinnyrich and on the Estate Sightings section of the website
On a different note, we recently undertook a food and wine matching evening which was held in our Winery Tasting Room over looking the vineyard. Our guests were treated to a six course tasting menu with an English wine matched to each course. We only used English wine for this dinner and they were matched with locally sourced seasonal fayre prepared by our own chef.
Above image shows our guests welcomed on to the veranda with a glass of Wiston Estate sparkling wine and a canapé of smoked sea trout cured in beetroot.
The ethos behind these dinners is that our guests can enhance their repertoire of English wine, taste some stunning local produce and most importantly – enjoy themselves at an evening to remember at Rathfinny Estate. To find out about these and other events held at our Flint Barns or Winery please sign up to our email list on our website.
I’ve managed to write a whole blog without mentioning Europe and to finish on a completely different note – well done to the England rugby team Down Under – Swing Low Sweet Chariot….