Checking out some old Cinsaut vineyards in Darling with my drone yesterday, I saw something very interesting on my screen in the neighbouring block of Merlot. They resemble small crop circles. I have seen this many times before, especially when doing a soil survey, but never have I seen it from this perspective. This is of course ancient termite nests. The termites bring a lot of organic material into their homes, and over decades or even centuries the soil start to change. They change the very nature of that piece of earth, the pH, the organic content, the humus content, the soil water holding capacity, and transform it into these alien-like soil circles. This translates into more vigorous and bigger grapevines in these areas – clearly visible in the image, with vines still with leaves on on the circles where the other vines had already dropped their leaves.
It made me wonder how you would manage a block like this to become more uniform. I can’t imagine how uneven the ripening must be. So I wondered how the plants would show this on a NDVI. So I made one.
So even on 10 meter NDVI the circles are clearly visible. So now I start asking some questions:
- how does this influence plant growth?
- how does this influence grape chemical composition?
- does this relate in the wine?
- how do you manage a block like this? And is it necessary or even possible to try?
- how would soil preparation look in future?
I don’t know the answers to any of these questions. Maybe someone reading this does. Please comment in the twitter post if you do! I just thought this was extremely interesting.