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Biological control in the vineyards 

In Poggio al Casone we are experimenting with many natural methods

Mating disruption as a method to stop the work of an insect that is very damaging to grapes: the grape berry moth.

Andrea Lucchi is the professor (entomologist) at University of Pisa, which has been studying for years how to fight pests. For about ten years he studied with great attention this method and he thinks that it is very efficient and "convenient" from the point of view of environmental protection.

A method that touches us closely because in Poggio al Casone it has been adopted since several years with interesting results.

But how the confusion works? The tignolette females produce specific odors that serve to attract males. Over the years, research has been able to synthesize this smell and copy it. In this way it is possible to interfere with communication between females and males: attracted by the smell males are confused because they do not find the female.

All this means that they do not mate and reproduce. No more larvae and then no more attack on the grapes.

Lucchi tells us that he began to experiment with this system (which now involves 1.5 million hectares of implementation in the world) in a beautiful production company in central Tuscany that gave impetus to many territories.

Another advantage of this "combat" is that, according to professor, we are adopting a teaching method that requires to go to the field and do the checks, and therefore gives a greater ability to intervene when problems arise.

"The sexual confusion - says Lucchi - forces you to go into the vineyard, and then to know your vineyard. It is an investment in quality!"

But you can not run the risk of trivialize this method with a simple equation: mating disruption = less moth = less chemical = less stressed grapes.
Lucchi immediately points out that all has to be demonstrated.

A demonstration on the vineyard is possible with the use of malaise traps: a kind of tent is installed with a jar with alcohol at the top of it. The combined effect of the light and the detecting of the output from the trap by the insects, they fall right into the only way, the jar.

This way it is possible to carry out a census of the "population" of the vineyard, which is useful not only for the evaluation of sexual confusion but also to understand the life that is in the same vineyard, or biodiversity.

This opens up another important chapter: biodiversity is also the subject of a study that can help us to understand the world that live in the vineyards. In this case, our company is a privileged one because the estate of Ceppaiano is a study field of this type.

A very important application, as pointed out by Lucchi, and of which we are very proud of as a company.

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