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But on an Estate with four different sun exposures and, consequently, four different microclimates where the conditions of sunlight, temperature, humidity and photoperiod are equally different, an extremely pertinent question arises: where does spring arrive first? This makes all the difference, because it will create a patchwork of vitality and development within the vineyards, which can make the same grape varieties have different metabolic behaviours and responses, according to this triple combination of soil, biodiversity and microclimate.
Throughout 2017 we developed a Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management Plan for Quinta dos Murças (BEMP). The purpose was precisely to develop a constructive approach to manage the biodiversity, using bio-indicators such as the variety of plants and insect species (like bees & butterflies), as well as birds, both small species of insectivores (warblers & tits), and birds of prey (falcons & hawks), among many others, as sources of valuable information about the ecological state of the vineyards, olive groves and also the woods, slopes and watercourses.
Basically, a BEMP is a document stating agricultural and environmental best practises that foster a connection between the biodiversity, as a regulating factor, and the state of the production areas, through guidelines that enable an improvement, in an interconnected and evolutionary manner, of the Estate’s management as a whole, where the landscape and the territory’s characteristics will be the principal elements that define the diversity of the wines.
Adapting the writings of the North-American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, if we adopt the pace of Nature, we discover that her secret is patience and, as the winter days pass, the vineyards rest and the wine sleeps in tanks and barrels, Nature, in her diligent and patient manner, does a crucial part of her job and anticipates spring. All we need is to learn from her how to help create the ideal conditions to bring about yet another good year for great wines.
 ‘Wood Wide Web’ is the theory that plants and fungi interact intimately with one another and form a network that shares nutrients, alarm signals and important information on the state of the ecosystem, creating a kind of below-ground internet. Suggested reading: Plants share information using nature’s fungal internet