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May 30th, 2018

Who (hoo hoo) Knew?

by: Mikaela Leach

As 5th generation farmers, we are committed to preserving the land for future generations. We use mother nature’s natural predators and other non-invasive techniques to help keep our vines healthy throughout the year. Barn Owls are a key part of our vineyard sustainability practices.

Did you know… Owls feed on troublesome rodents in the vineyard?
A nesting owl will catch up to 6 gophers a day to feed the brood
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The owl boxes in our Estate Vineyards are part of a joint research program between UC Davis and Sacramento State. This research is funded by a Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Grant (Western SARE) and a grant from the Vertebrate Pest Control Research Advisory Committee. The scientists are studying barn owls to better understand the role they play in controlling rodent pests in vineyards. They will be monitoring owl nest boxes to collect data on clutch size (number of chicks in a nest), chick growth rates, prey delivery rates by the adults and diet. They will also be putting GPS tags on some of the owls to gain a better understanding of their hunting patterns within the vineyard and its impact on rodent populations.

The owl research team includes Dr. Sara Kross, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Studies at California State University, Sacramento; Dr. Joshua Hull, Adjunct Professor, UC Davis; Dr. Roger Baldwin, Vertebrate Pest specialist, UC Extension; Emily Phillips UC Davis graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in Avian Science; Ryan Bourbour, UC Davis, Ecology Ph.D. student and Breanna Martinico an Avian Sciences Master’s student and a Ph. D. student in Ecology at UC Davis.

In our 30 years of experience growing grapes in the Dunnigan Hills, we have learned the best grapes make the best wine; and the best grapes are grown when we work in harmony with our eco-system and mother nature.

Who (hoo hoo) knew owls were such an important part of the Matchbook Chardonnay in your glass? Visit our Web store to get a bottle today!

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