Last year I had problems with birds destroying some grapes before I had the chance to harvest them (full disclosure: I had several conferences last year that I attended while it was close to harvest time. I rolled the dice that the fruit would still be there when I got back — no such luck). This year I am taking no chances! Last week the bird netting went up on two of the four rows in the vineyard and this week the other two will be covered as well. Since the vineyard is so small, it was relatively easy to put the netting over the rows and secure it. Below are a few photos (taken by Richelle Stafne) of the process.
The netting will remain on until harvest. Once all fruit is harvested it will be removed and stored for next year. Netting is an added expense to the vineyard and it makes management more difficult, but it is a necessity to protect the fruit from birds. There are different kinds of netting, some will last longer than others (and hence are more expensive), so it depends on an individual managers needs which kind to purchase. Tractor implements are available to help with this process in large-scale operations.