Biomimicry in action: Sour Grapes and the wine industry

How does a winery use Biomimicry to great effect to continuously keep soil quality, and thus wine quality, high? It lets weeds run rampant!

I was watching Uncorked, the Stuart MacGill show on Lifestyle, the other day (yes, hold your laughter) and was happily shocked by how much the wine industry has begun adopting biomimicry techniques in an effort to create full bodied, great tasting wines.

The winery Battle of Bosworth, deliberately lets the weed, Sour Sob (oxalis pes caprae), grow between it’s wine rows to ‘out-compete’ other weeds and then turn into a nutritious, organic mulch in the summer. The plant grows in reverse season to the grape vines, which means that when the Sour Sob is growing, the grapes are in the off-season, lying dormant. When the grapes begin maturing, and enter into the growth season, the weed naturally dies off, providing the excess nutrients the vines required to produce the grapes which eventually go into one of the better wines in the region. The owner loves the weed so much, he has adorned his bottles with it’s image.

Battle of Bosworth

Fantastic! No chemicals. Less water use. Better product. Using something that…shock horror…grows naturally WITHOUT COST. I’ll be buying a bottle or two – call it research. 😛

5 thoughts on “Biomimicry in action: Sour Grapes and the wine industry

  1. Wow, who would’ve thought…I might have to join you in the market research!!

    I think that I’ll pass this onto the wine lovers I know (mainly my folks..)

    S

  2. Hi Rebecca – thanks for the comment.

    I’m not a scientist, but from what I’ve read/heard the weeds die out as the grapes begin to grow. The organic matter that the dead/dying weeds provide actually provide nutrients for the grapes as they grow rather than steal them.

    I think this system is evident in a lot of places in our world, even in the corporate environment. Organisations continue to believe in the idea of limited resource and constant this -or- this scenarios. Sometimes, the opportunity for this -and- this scenarios presents itself naturally if you let it, which is why I like the Battle of Bosworth example so much. The weed naturally grows there. It naturally works symbiotically with the vines to produce great, organic grapes. Why wouldn’t you let that system exist?

  3. My eyes were so closed, I wasn’t even aware of ‘biomimicry’. Now I’m noticing examples all the time. Thanks for the book recommendation – for anyone who’s following:

    This book explains how different areas of human life, and industry, can benefit from looking at the benefits in what’s already there.

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