CDs to save the grapes

Dieter Sellmeyer of Lynx Wines, a small boutique winery near ­Franschhoek, believes CDs are for the birds – ­metaphorically, not ­literally.

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And even a bird brain cannot fail to ­appreciate the sense in his strategy. In the past ­Sellmeyer paid bird tax every year, because the birds which nest in the trees lining the ­Wemmershoek River do not eat like birds; they eat like velociraptors.

Every year ­Sellmeyer lost virtually all the grapes in the two vineyard rows closest to the riverine forest. Damaged grapes also increased the likelihood of bacterial ­infection and elevated volatile acidity.

This year, however, Sellmeyer adopted a bird’s eye view. He devised a matrix of 200 CDs, which were hung above the vines. This plan proved so effective that ­farmworkers were able to harvest right up to the last row, and there was ­virtually no evidence of bird damage. The idea was born from Dieter’s previous ­experience with selling sonic bird repellents.

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He sold the device, which emitted loud, high-pitched sounds, to farmers but soon received complaints about the bird droppings on the ­speakers. “I then tried long strips of silver tape as a repellent, but these did not last. Last year I experimented with CDs and when I saw that the idea might just work, I expanded the ­concept. The CDs hang freely to rotate in the wind, and the colourful flashes of brightly reflected light can be seen from the Lynx tasting room. The results are awesome.”

The Lynx Shiraz 2003 debuted with 4½ stars in Platter and at the recent Swiss International Airlines Wine Awards in Cape Town, Lynx Wines was one of only three cellars to receive two Gold medals – one for the Lynx Shiraz 2005 and the other for the Lynx Cabernet Sauvignon 2005. – Sonja Burger