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Hives to wines: Bees benefit local vineyards

(written for the Los Altos Town Crier)

You’d have to be wearing some pretty serious sound-canceling headphones to miss the increasing buzz about how farmers, biologists, beekeepers, entomologists and environmental groups the globe over are encouraging bee population growth. Promoting bee health is critical to ensuring human food supplies. Bees can take credit for pollinating approximately one-third of everything we eat and play a big role in what we drink, too, both directly and indirectly. “Grapes are self-fertilizing, which means they don’t need bees to set fruit,” said Prudy Foxx, managing director of Foxx Viticulture. “However, vintners often consider the insects essential to the health of their vineyards and the quality of their wines. Bees can perform cross-pollination, which enhances diversity within the vine species.” Foxx, who consults on all aspects of caring for vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains, has seen a dramatic shift in the way grapes are farmed since she began working…

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