We began organically farming our vineyard in the 2010 growing season. We are not using synthesized products anywhere in the vineyard. Rather than using herbicides and pre-emergents to get rid of weeds, we're using tillers and mowers. Instead of using synthesized mildewcides and pesticides to control unwanted molds, mildews, and insects, we're using a mix of natural products such as plant extracts, soaps, and natural oils. To amend our soil and keep it healthy, we're growing a nitrogen-fixing cover crop of legumes and grasses, and again, without synthesized fertilizers. For ground dwelling pests, we installed owl boxes as habitat for populations of Barn Owls. All of these steps, plus hand hoeing and manual removal of excess leaves and shoots, will help keep our vineyard green and healthy … naturally. We're very happy with our first crops of organically farmed wines, which are resting in barrels in our cave. You'll get to taste the results of our organic conversion with the release of our 2010 vintage wines, beginning in Fall 2011.
Cedarville Vineyard is a "Sustainable" business. Many of you may be familiar with the terms "Sustainable" and "Sustainability". And we suspect you care about where your food and wine come from, and the social and environmental impact of these foods. More than a farming method, Sustainability is the intersection of three core principles for running a business which are: Environmentally Sound, Socially Equitable, and Economically Feasible. In other words, being good stewards of our land, giving back to our community, running our business for a profit, and considering the social and carbon footprint implications for our business decisions. Sustainability-based decisions impart a positive impact on our soil, the flavor of our wine, and the well-being of our community and our planet. The following are a few examples.
Sustainability starts in the vineyard, where we blend organic and traditional farming methods for the health of our vineyard and to reduce our carbon footprint. We mow grasses and weeds between the vine rows, instead of plowing, which prevents soil erosion, creates safe havens for positive pests, and provides competition for noxious weeds. In the vine row, rather than using herbicides and pre-emergent to eliminate weeds, we ran a Weed Badger between the vines to gently till the weeds (the yellow device attached to the tractor) This past year, rather than using herbicides to kill brush near the seasonal creek which runs through our vineyard, we brought in a herd of goats to eat the brush.
At the winery, our winery building is built into our hillsides to provide natural cooling without requiring air conditioning. Supplemental cooling is achieved through energy efficient Evaporative coolers. We constructed underground caves for barrel storage, requiring no additional heating or cooling whatsoever. For the 10 – 11 months of the year which we are not crushing grapes, energy bills for our 5,000 square foot winery are $50-$60 per month.
In the community, we donate to charitable causes in the communities where we sell our wines, both here at home and in states where out wines in distribution. And economically, we run our business for a profit. This is how we make our living.
If we're fortunate enough to see you here at Cedarville Vineyard in person, please ask about our sustainability practices, we have many more we can show you. In the meantime, we hope you have the opportunity to taste our new releases and their unique expression of our little corner of the world, Cedarville Vineyard.