At the Briede Family Vineyards

Our flowers are beautiful but the benefits are even better!

Not only are they beautiful to look at, but they serve as a very important part of our ecosystem. They are food and protection for our resident “good” bugs.

When the vineyard is free from bad bugs, the good bugs move on in search of food. So, we have created a lovely home filled with pollen (food) and shelter called an insectary to attract the types of bugs we need to keep around. During the spring and summer months, it becomes a place where the birds swoop down and eat their fill. I can’t help but tell myself that this too shall pass.

So what flowers do the beneficial insects like?

We love our bugs.
They support the vineyard in so many ways.

Nature is a balance.


If our soil is just right, our plants can feed themselves. We add compost which is full of the necessary nutrients to help fill the plants with nutrients they may be lacking so they can thrive.

Plants choose who they feed. Did you know that the relationship of bacteria vs. fungi determines the PH of the soil? The higher the bacteria, the more alkaline the soil. The higher the fungi, the more acidic.


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The plant supplies simple carbon compounds to the bacteria and the bacteria convert nitrogen from the air into a form the plant host can use. Decomposing plants in the soil increases nitrogen. 1 teaspoon of soil houses 100 million to 1 billion bacteria. There are a large group of bacteria that grow as hyphae like fungi. This bacteria gives you the beautiful “earth” smell. They are critical in decomposition.

What are they? Insects, beetles, ants, mites, etc. Most soil dwelling arthropods eat fungi, worms or other arthropods. There are basically four groups: shredders, predators, herbivores and fungal feeders. Shredders eat bacteria and fungi. Herbivores eat plants, and predators eat other bugs.

We have two types: anaerobic which lives in a removed oxygen system (parasites) and aerobic which feed on bacteria and release nitrogen that can be used by the plant.

They are decomposers that convert hard to digest material into a more palatable form for other organisms. A very important role is to bind soil particles to help hold water.

Worms! (But microscopic) Yes, they play a vital role in converting organic material to inorganic. This is called mineralization. This is so important and plants take up nutrients in this inorganic state. There are several groups based on feeding habits. We use nematodes to attack the larva of pests found in the soil in the larva stage, and we use them against the Japanese Beetle, which eats the grape leaves.

As you can see, the life below the soil has many components. We have just touched on a few to show you not just how, but why we try to protect the soil. It’s where our plants eat and live.

Being Organic means making a commitment to the life under your feet. It’s a commitment to the environment and to the plants you are growing. Pesticides, synthetic chemicals, and heavy tillage all harm the life beneath the soil. If any of these process stop, like the food chain above ground, all are impacted. We believe chemicals have their place in life, but not in our food source.

Fridays on the Terrace September 13thWinery Events