La Rioja Alta, S.A. has begun to install shelters in its vineyards for certain insects and arachnids that are beneficial for grapevine care. These facilities, which the winery will gradually place in all its vineyards, provide shelter for ‘allied’ microfauna, which, in the words of Roberto Frías, Agricultural manager, La Rioja Alta, S.A., “will help us carry out a very selective and, above all, very environmentally-friendly plant health defence and increase the biodiversity of our vineyards.”
In this sense, Frías stresses that “there are species, such as ladybirds, which are indicators of good environmental quality in the vineyards and we must preserve them by ensuring their proliferation. In their juvenile state (larvae) they prey with extreme voracity on aphids, mites and mealybugs, most of which are harmful to grapevines and other crops.” He adds that “other interesting species that we intend to favour include earwigs, arachnids, lacewings and wasps, which prey on thrips, mites, grape moths and vine leaf rollers.” “We can consider them all” says Frías, “true biological insecticides that will help us further reduce the use of chemical products as much as possible, one of our main goals.”
This initiative is part of the wide range of environmental measures that La Rioja Alta, S.A. winery group has been implementing for decades, both at its facilities and in the almost 700 hectares of planted vineyards that it currently manages among its four wineries employing integrated viticulture. These include a commitment to clean energies such as solar, wind and biomass, reusing water in the wineries, the decision to allocate 16 hectares of vineyards to 100% organic viticulture, the use of biotechnological alternatives for pest control, leaving a ground cover on more than 30% of the total surface of vineyards, and several RDI programmes that have have allowed us to employ fertigation in the vineyards of our Galician winery, Lagar de Cervera.