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Netting Grapevines

Updated on July 19, 2015
Carol Reed profile image

Carol graduated from Indian Hills C.C. with an AAS in H.I.T and an AA in Arts & Science. A Social Media Booster for Wine Diamonds Film.

The job of Netting...

This process takes two to three people to cover a row of grapevines. If your lucky enough to have a tractor; one to drive and one to help reel the roll out while guiding the net over the vines. This procedure runs smoother if you have two people on the ground so that once the netting is over the vines, one person can be on each side to pull the mesh down at the same time.

Save the Frustration:

The job isn't over yet. Once the netting is over the plants, it's a good idea to go between the vines in each row and clip the nets together at the bottom with clothes pins, sticks or something that will help keep the critters from going under the nets to get the grapes, help keep the nets off the ground for easy mowing between the rows and also help keep them from blowing off during those strong winds.


Save the Grapes

Netting, is a chore that is hard work, unfortunately needed to protect the grapes for a short period of time but if not done; can cost a grower the loss of grapes in one night by nighttime creatures like the raccoon. Birds, deer and other animals also pose a threat to the grapes, day or night.

What is netting?

Netting can come in rolls of different sizes: Some come in 15 foot reams and some 17' x 25 ' through 17' x 1,000'. There may be places that you can purchase smaller or bigger rolls. They are knotted in diamond or square shaped mesh material. The shapes can be anywhere from 1/2 inches to 2 inches. They can be black, white or green.

Some people use hay nets, others use Polyethylene. The vineyards that I have helped net us the poly.

Check with other vineyards.

If you need netting, ask vineyard owners if they know of any vineyards that are going out of business and would like to sale their nets. Sometimes these nets come available at reasonable prices.

Netting Grapes

Keep birds and other animals from destroying the grapes.
Keep birds and other animals from destroying the grapes. | Source

Vigilance

These Polyethylene nets can be dangerous. Watch your step when working around the nets. Buttons and zippers seem to grip a hold of the nets too.

I have tripped while stepping over them; catching my shoestring in there clinging mesh, pulling me down and striking the ground. They seem to be like a spider's web catching their prey.


Two people can put nets on in a vineyard but more is better.

A tractor sure helps the process.
A tractor sure helps the process. | Source

Do you net your produce?

Do you net your gardens or vineyards?

See results

Polyethylene mesh

Polyethylene mesh is a plastic flexible material and can rip or tear easily when you don't want it to. While applying these nets over the vineyards, I have had several cases when they have split.

However, birds have been known to fly into these nets; trapped, unable to escape, and have died.


Netting is a Worthy Chore.

Netting is applied to red and white grapes.
Netting is applied to red and white grapes. | Source

When to net?

Apply netting when the grapes are the most vulnerable. When they are changing color and becoming ripe and juicy. This is when they are most inviting to the critters. Grapes that are pecked by birds will alter the flavor of the wines and damage the fruit.

Saved a Life

On August 22, 2014, I saved a life. A bird flew into the web of netting over a vineyard and was trapped. Its wings flapped in a panic. The legs and neck were in the holes shaped like diamonds; I ran to the golf cart to grab pruning shears and then ran back to its rescue. My tool was dull. Fighting against time seemed hopeless when the bird seemed to give up its fight for freedom. I didn’t have time to run for a different sharp instrument. I separated the mesh with one hand, struggled to saw the nylon with the tool in my other hand and also said, “God, please help me free this little bird.” The bird flew away and into a tree. Sometimes our feathery friends are not so lucky but as for this one, he has a chance.

Thank you God; for not allowing us both to give up.

Say Yes, No More Netting......

Recently, while visiting Fireside Winery, a friend of mine and I had the opportunity to climb into their Gator and take a tour around their vineyard. The thought of netting all of their grapes came to my mind even though this is not the time to net. I had to ask, “Do you manually apply the nets or do you have a machine to do it for you? He answered back with a grin and a quick, “No,” and then continued on by explaining that they have bird guns.

I must have misunderstood him, I told myself. There is no way someone can get rid of all their bird issues with a gun, I thought. He told us that these guns are on timers and are arranged throughout the vineyard. When the timer goes off the guns will blast and echo in the grape vineyard like someone is shooting. We didn’t hear any go off while we were there but listening to others explain this technique, if one wasn’t expecting this loud noise, it can be pretty startling.

The following link will take you to a site that can give you a visual of what a bird gun looks like and can cost. http://www.birdcontrolpro.com/zon_mark4_cannon.htm .These guns run on propane and don’t hurt our flying feathered friends.

Wow, I thought. No more struggling with the nets, on and off. No more freeing trapped birds and no more discovering dead birds trapped under and in the nets. And even better, save time in the vineyard.

Lift the nets or take them off, picking time.

Picking depends on the type of wine grapes and what the bricks measure.
Picking depends on the type of wine grapes and what the bricks measure. | Source

A Solution for Saving Time and Energy.

I have noticed while traveling through states that one vineyard left their nets tied to the top of their vines when they were done. This seems like the best solution for saving time and energy. When the time came for the nets to cover their precious crop, is all they had to do was drop the mesh over their vines.

Vineyards

5 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of Netting Grapevines

Grapes that have been netted.

Netted grapes have a better chance of being healthy and surviving.
Netted grapes have a better chance of being healthy and surviving. | Source

Looking to visit beautiful Iowa Vineyards? Allow me to suggest the following to you.

 
 
 
ttps://www.facebook.com/pages/Wooden-Wheel-Vineyards/101168899942372
 
 
http://www.summersetwine.com/
 
 
http://www.heartofiowawinetrail.com/wineries/tasselridgewinery.html
 
 
These are just a few of Iowa's quality vineyards and wonderful owners.

Netting a vineyard by hand....

Something Other Than Netting......

A week ago, a friend and I hopped into a Gator for a tour through the Fireside Winery Vineyard with owner, William Wyant. I was astonished to discover, they do not net. They do not worry about the birds stealing or poisoning their grapes with their tiny little beaks because they have something that sounds like gun shots.

Ok, I’m physically picturing someone with a gun, shooting in the air every so many minutes and thinking to myself there is no way, this can’t be possible, so I had to ask him what it is and how it works?

He said that a propane tank hangs underneath of a barrel. These are scattered throughout the vineyard and are set on timers. They make a loud sound like someone shooting a gun.

This sounded more practical to me. When I was part-owner of a vineyard, this would have been a blessing when it came time to netting. Not so sure the neighbors would agree.

These noisemakers are also known as:


Air Cannons

A Bird Bangers

Bird Cannons

Using Bird Bangers (Cannons) VS Netting

Pros Cons

*Takes less time away from other things. *Noise nuisance for neighbors

*Less physical issues (tangle in net, on zippers, on shoelaces, etc.)

*No more birds trapped in the net.

There are also boxes with prerecorded sounds of {gunshots} and {birds of prey} that a person can place on the posts throughout their vineyards.


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    • profile image

      Kincaid72 2 years ago

      Awesome!

    • profile image

      Bill 2 years ago

      No, I have not tried this hail netting. In fact, I had a very hard time tncikarg down hail netting. A fellow grower was able to get some from a company located in Italy, but they would not ship to the US anymore. I've been buying mine from American Clay Works in Denver, but the price is too high now. I did some quick research about Gintec, but could not find too much information or reviews. Let us know if you find a good source. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Carol Clarke Reed 2 years ago

      Bill, Wineries and Vineyards are a Great source. They may even know of one going out of business that are able to give you a great deal. Also you might want to check with a college that has a viticulture program. We have one in Ames, Iowa. Wineries and Vineyard owners have been given several wonderful leads on equipment for sale.

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