Yellow Magic | Mustard in the Vineyards
As the end of winter nears, and the magic of spring begins to surface, our Willamette Valley vineyards come alive with golden waves of mustard beneath bare grape trunks. The landscape is breathtaking and hard to miss.
Mustard blooms all over the valley in early spring whether growing wild or planted by thoughtful vineyard teams as it’s not only a vision for the eyes but a feast for the vines. It thrives heavily until bud break, and then turns to mulch to provide valuable nutrients to emerging grape plants.
Mustard’s also beneficial on sloped grades, since the plants hold soil in place during winter rains to protect again erosion. They will sometimes pop up seemingly overnight because mustard seeds have been known to persist in soils for upwards of 20 years, and while some do go dormant they’ll magically revive during specific weather conditions or farming practices.
Another benefit of mustard’s growth is that it helps to suppress nematode or microscopic worm populations because mustard contains high levels of biofumigants. Some vineyards even create their own powerful varieties specifically bred to have high levels of Glucosinolate compounds. Worms dislike like the glucosinolates in the mustard, which give the plant its pungent odor and sharp taste. In essence, these beautiful blossoms set the vineyards up for success the year ahead and while they are pretty to look at, try not to disturb them and their hard work for the season to come.