So, John Downes (Working Lives last week) has never lectured to civil engineers about wine? This is a ludicrous state of affairs and needs to be corrected forthwith. As a suggestion, I should have thought that the members of the British Geotechnical Association would have been only too happy to learn about the beneficial effects of vine roots on slope stability in vineyards.
Presumably there is a correlation between grape type and stabilisation potential?
How about a lecture followed by a field excursion? Or a workshop during which we learn to taste the difference between stable and unstable slopes?
John Harrison (M) department of earth science and engineering Imperial College j. harrison@imperial. ac. uk