Our Non-Chemical Wasp and Bee Solution
Our vineyard is a tasty oasis to the many birds, wasps, bees and other pests that we co-exist with in the Santa Monica Mountains. In our first harvest year we discovered (the hard way) that once the grapes are nearly ready to pick the sugar attracts wasps and bees that will devour every cluster if given the chance.
In many vineyards a common practice is to spray a diluted solution of pesticide on the grapes a few weeks before harvest. The pesticide deters the wasps, however it also kills the honey bees that come in contact with the grapes. Any honey bees that are not killed instantly transport the poison back to the hive and this destroys the entire hive.
Since we don't use pesticides in our vineyard, the alternative was to place insect netting over each row. The holes in the insect netting are small enough to keep out the bees, wasps, and any sneaky birds. It adds an additional step since we cover the grapes with bird netting at verasion (beginning of the grapes turning color). About 4-6 weeks later, the sugar levels in the grapes increase and the first wasps arrive right on schedule. At this point we place the insect netting over all of the rows.