|Year of Production|
1 x 52 min
Worldwide except for Germany and France
A well-tended vineyard nurtures the quality of a wine over generations. But its micro-world is an animal empire fought over furiously in hundreds of tiny daily dramas. In summer and autumn creatures great and small are attracted to this apparently orderly habitat by the juicy sweet grapes – but that’s only part of the vineyard’s appeal. In this unique documentary, Europe’s prime vineyards in France, Germany and Austria reveal a remarkable seasonal cycle. The irresistible smell of fresh vine leaves tempts deer and their fawns out of the woods, once to eat the leaves, a second time to swallow the sweet grapes. European and Asian ladybugs swarm from their underground colony in spring. They protect the vines from aphids, eating up to fifty a day – if they themselves escape the attacks of the ants that protect the aphids! Baby foxes and rabbits play together until the chase one day turns into the hunt. Buzzards eye the young rabbits waiting for a moment’s inattention from their wary mothers – who may just as likely be protecting their burrow against an invading lizard. Short-sighted badgers bump into vine sticks on their way to pillage birds’ nests. Tiny hyperactive shrews fight over territory and then flee the harvest, gripping each other’s rear ends like three blind mice. An ant-lion larva ambushes prey in its sandy pit, while in the South of France the unique cat-like genet, the top vineyard predator, dines on rabbits, birds, lizards and snakes, before finishing with a dessert of ripe grapes.