A few days ago, on March 3rd, World Wildlife Day was celebrated. This is the date set by the United Nations General Assembly as the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
World Wildlife Day is celebrated as an opportunity to laud the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora on earth and to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that conservation provides to people. Wildlife has an intrinsic value and contributes to the ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic aspects of sustainable development and human well-being (yes, UNESCO, right on).
At Vineyard Son Alegre we celebrate World Wildlife Day every day of the year.
When we acquired our land almost twenty years ago there was some nature but there was not much wildlife to speak of. Now, however, we are stunned, excited and grateful every single day about the amazing diversity of wildlife establishing itself on our land. Where we once had perhaps a bare dozen of plant species, just before we started with our organic way of farming, we now have evidence of almost a hundred different types of flora, not all of which we have so far managed to identify. Of course, some of you might nonchalantly call some of these plants or herbs weeds, but we are happy to have them next to our vines as they are proof to Biodiversity on our land, and that is a not just a good thing, that is crucial and indispensable for all of us and our future..
Our list of native flora is growing by the day but here is what we have classified so far:
Aeonium arboreum (Tree Houseleek)
Aeonium arboreum Atropurpureum (Purple Rose Tree)
Agave americana (American Aloe)
Agave americana var. marginata (Variegated Century Plant)
Allium subvillosum (Wild Garlic)
Aloe arborescens (Candelabra Aloe)
Asphodelus aestivus (Summer Asphodel)
Atractilis cancellata (Cage Thistle)
Alyssum serpyllifolium (Madwort)
Alyssum spinosum (Spiny Madwort)
Anacyclus clavatus (White Anacyclus)
Arum italicum (Italian Lords and Ladies)
Asparagus acutifolius (Wild Asparagus)
Bellis sylvestri (Southern Daisy)
Capparis orientalis (Caper Bush)
Carduus tenuiflorus (Winged Plumeless Thistle)
Carlina acanthifolia (Carline Artichoke)
Celtis australis (European Nettle Tree)
Ceratonia siliqua (Carob)
Chrysantemum coronarium (Garland)
Convolvulus arvensis (Field Bindweed)
Crepis vesicaria (Beaked Hawksbeard)
Cynoglossum creticum (Blue Hound’s Tongue)
Dianthus armeria L. (Grass Pink)
Ficus carica (Fig Tree)
Galactites tomentosa (Mediterranean Thistle)
Gladiolus italicus (field gladiolus)
Helleborus foetidus (Dungwort)
Leopoldia comosum (Tassel Hyacinth)
Lippia triphylla (Herb Louisa)
Melilotus officinalis (Balm)
Muscari comosum (Grape Hyacinth)
Olea europaea (Olive Tree)
Olea sylvestris (Wild Olive)
Opuntia ficus-indica (Prickly Pear)
Oxalis pes-caprae (Sourgrass)
Papaver rhoeas (Field Popy)
Pistacia lentiscus (Mastic Tree)
Plantago lagopus (Mediterranean Plantain)
Plumbago_europaea (Common Leadwort)
Prunus dulcis (Almond)
Punica granatum (Pomegranate)
Silene vulgaris (Maiden’s Tears)
Silybum marianum (Milk Thistle)
Sinapis alba (White Mustard)
Solanum linnaeanum (Devil’s Apple)
Solanum tuberosum (Potato)
Trifolium angustifolium (Narrow-leaved Crimson Clover)
Triticum aestivum subsp. Xeixa (Mallorcan Bread Wheat)
Urtica incisa (Stinging Nettle)
Vitis vinifera (Grape Vine)
Similarly, the fauna too is settling in nicely at Son Alegre. We are thrilled about the heterogeneous collection of bird life on our estate, the variety of insect life and the sheer number of ants, beetles, worms and other invertebrates creeping and crawling as the day is long. We have not indexed our fauna yet but hopefully some time in the future we will be able to present you with a list of the heterotroph animal life at Son Alegre.
You may wonder what all this wildlife has to do with making wine. Think again. We believe that you get out of your land exactly what you give to it in the first place. Of course, as for the question of how to deal with what you are given to start with, it all depends on your approach. You might elect to give up ploughing, as we have done, or refrain from fertilizing the land with commercial manure or un-organic compost like we do. Instead you might aim for an organic way of growing your grapes or even set your sights on an approach by biodynamic principles as we do. We like to do things and practice agriculture on our land the organic, healthy, natural and holistic way because we believe that as a result our produce, i. e. the grapes for our wine, will be organic, healthy and the best natural way possible. We trust nature.
Nature always knows best, at least in the long run. Always has done, and always will.
All photos were taken by John Hinde. Thank you, John.