From John Greenfield in New Zealand:
I planted vetiver hedges on a property here in Kerikeri where the owner had established a small home vineyard. In this case, the owner, a business man, wanted the best of all worlds, Vineyards; horses; big game fishing; tennis courts, unfortunately the site he chose for the vines was on an old slip, and to make matters worse he had excavated (destroyed) the toe slope below the grapes to make the tennis courts. As you can see from the photos attached, the vetiver hedges protect the vines from the runoff above and stabilise the ‘old slip’ from the weakened toe slope below the vines.
This was mainly a slope stabilisation operation and it has worked, and is still working perfectly, over the past 10 years. I was also interested to see what effect the vetiver hedges had on the grapes (Syrah var.). Anecdotally, these grapes out yielded all other vineyards in the area, seemed to have less trouble with pests and diseases and seemed to get all the bigger growers thinking that there may be something in using vetiver hedges in growing grapes.
Regarding the ‘high’ yield of this vineyard, I put that down to the moisture conservation effects on the hillside, as we are prone to long hot summer droughts in this area.
That’s about it – nothing startling but certainly opens one’s mind to the need further research in to the beneficial effects of vetiver hedges in grape production.
I am hoping to get some new info from Anelia Marais who has worked with vetiver in The Cape Province, Ellensburg, South Africa. Editor