3 Reasons why winegrowers plant roses at the end of vine rows
On Chateau Feely’s half day and day tours I am often asked ‘why the roses?’ Its easy to see the primary reason for us having roses today: beauty. This stunning photo was taken by Ellie Feely, our talented in house photographer.
And the next one too. Thanks Ellie for these extraordinary photos.
But back to the reasons… Roses were planted at the end of rows as an early warning system for the winegrower. They attract insects like aphids before the vines. They also get fungal disease like black rot and mildew before the vines do. We now know that the strain of mildew that roses are susceptible to is not the same as vines but if the conditions are good for mildew on roses you can be sure they are good for downy mildew on vines too.
Another reason I have heard is that in addition to being a ‘canary’ when the vines were worked with draft horses or oxen roses encouraged them to turn properly at the end of the rows because of their thorns, ensuring that the working animals weren’t tempted to cut a corner and damage the last vine.
At Chateau Feely we have a many roses including this beauty given to us by Mum and Dad Feely, a rose that has a very special place in our hearts.
Learn more about wine with out Wine school or read Caro’s books Grape Expectations , Saving our Skins and latest book Glass Half Full to learn more about wine and the gripping story of building a vineyard.
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You’re in France! When I looked you up, I honestly thought I was going to find you in California.. 🙂
Thank you for this wonderful post. I have been researching “why the roses”, and I really thought, all my life, there must be some more romantic explanation, lol! Thank you for pointing out, how very beautiful these roses are, for a purely aesthetic, as well as a practical reason for their being in the vineyards. 🙂 Also, yours was the best post I found, explaining how the roses work as an early warning system. 🙂
thanks Michelle! sorry it took me a while to reply I have been in Canada for 10 days. Really appreciate your comments. You can join our mailing list at the bottom right of this site to get our monthly news that includes more info like this. best wishes and thank you! Caro
I have two new grape vines, bought in the Loire Valley last September and happy as can be in our garden in Brittany. I thought, “What can I plant with them, in their big wooden planter?” and my clever husband said roses, but didn’t know why. So thank you for explaining that and I am now off to the garden center to buy a new rose (didn’t need the excuse, but still….!!)
Excellent choice! happy gardening and vine growing.
Dear Caro….. HELP! I’m desperate to find the NAME of those beautiful RED ROSES
(growing in clusters) at the end of the vineyard rows in the Medoc region of southwest France.
We must have seen hundreds from Petrus to Lafitte Rothchild. Can you help me?
Hi Susan – I’m sorry I don’t know the name of these. Next time I am up the Medoc I’ll try to find out and be back in touch. Caro
Interesting. I had always heard it was done to attract bees.
Thanks for your comment Jim. Grape vines are hermaphrodite so they don’t need bees to pollinate but its always good to have pollinators around for biodiversity.
I have just bought a property in the Gironde, which has half a hectare of registered Merlot attached. What rose would you recommend planting at the end of the row please? Any with a nice odour?
Congrats on your new vineyard. I recommend talking to your local nursery about which roses would do well in your kind of soil. You need to go for a bush or tea or other normal standing rose rather than a climber style rose. Have you read my book series about our vineyard adventure? They could help you make sense of your new vines. There are 3 in the series Grape Expectations, Saving our Skins and Glass Half Full. The fouth is in progress. Good luck with it. Exciting!
Best wishes, Caro
Where can I buy your books
Hi Dagmar – thanks for asking! They are available via your local bookstore or from an online seller. If you have any trouble please email me. Thanks a million.