Grape Expectations: A Survey of British Vineyard Land Management Practices From an Environmental Perspective

Author(s): Janine Griffiths-Lee, Dave Goulson, Elizabeth Nicholls

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Published: 2022-07-29

Abstract: Traditional vineyard landscapes are generally intensively managed with heavy reliance on synthetic pesticides. Viticulture is one of the fastest-growing sectors of English agriculture and information on land management is essential to secure a sustainable future. We surveyed viticulturists to ascertain vineyard pest presence, pest control, inter-row ground cover and wildflower use. The majority of viticulturists reported the presence of vineyard pests and relied heavily on pesticides, with 74% using synthetic pest control, 40% using herbicides, 40% using fungicides. Inter-row, 66% of vineyards have grass-only cover and frequent summer mowing, with only 6% sowing wildflowers. However, 60% use natural pest control, 80% reported existence of wildflowers in headlands, and 29% mentioned reduced mowing. We discuss spontaneous and sown wildflowers and benefits for biodiversity, integrated pest management and the commonly perceived barriers to adaptation. We conclude there is huge variation in management styles and more evidence-based environmental advice for viticulturists is needed.