We began practicing organic farming in our estate vineyard in 2010. 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 weed-eaters, tillers, mowers, and our gloved hands. 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, naturally derived sulfur, bacillus, 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 four owl boxes as habitat for populations of Barn Owls (see the white box to the left of us in the photo). 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 crops of organically farmed wines, and believe the wineries buying our grapes are, too.
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 practice organic farming methods for the health of our soil, the vines, our vineyard team, while provide a healthy ecosystem where pest populations are kept in check by their natural predators. Sustainability doesn't require organic farming practices, thoughtful conventional farming can be very sustainable. We just choose to make the extra commitment to farm organic. In the vine row, rather than using herbicides and pre-emergent to eliminate weeds, we use tools such as the Weed Badger (the yellow device in the photo, attached to the tractor). In prior years, 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 (that's them in the photo!).
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're 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 our 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