We strive to keep our vineyard and wine operations low impact and sustainable to the environment. Here are some of our efforts:
Vineyard Sustainability Practices
No Watering: Our estate vineyard is dry-farmed. That is, we never water our vines, and yet they thrive even during our droughts. When we prepared the soils back in 2010, we excavated the land more than 5 feet in depth and supplemented it 30% compost. This allows our grapevine roots to grow deep into the soils and extract the water and nutrients so they thrive.
No Fertilizers: We never fertilize our vineyard. We compost our cuttings, grape leaves, and skins and add it back into the vineyard. We use cover-crops and let them grow wild all summer, and occasionally mow and mulch it in for natural green composting. It also attracts a plethora of beneficial insects and pollinators. No fertilizers also means no nitrogen runoff in our rivers and streams, and we are in close proximity to the Sudbury River so it is not impacted.
Organic Practices: We NEVER use glyphosate (or Roundup) for weed control. Instead we encourage diversity with native plants like clover and grasses to live among the vines.
Minimal fungicides: We only grow vines that were bred for disease-resistance and cold-climates by Cornell University's grape breeding program. This allows us to spray just four times per year during the pre-pollination phases of vine growth. Our sprays are organically approved.
Cultural Practices: We work the vineyard to manage the leaf canopy and fruit cluster exposure to air and light. We perform leaf-pull in the fruiting zone which allows the air to circulate and dry the morning dew. This reduces the need for extra fungicide sprays and keeps the vines healthy.
No insecticides: We have never sprayed insecticides. Our eco-system is balanced by the beneficial insects that keep the pests in check. We also install birdhouses on our end-posts to invite insect-loving birds like wrens and bluebirds to nest and feed on larva pests. We have always had the birdhouses full.
Sustainability in Winery Operations
No Heating & Cooling: We never heat our wine cellar because it is below grade and constructed with closed-cell foam insulation. The temperatures remain consistent throughout the year and remain optimal for aging our wines. There is no need for heating or air conditioning in the winery.
Lighting: We only use high efficiency LED lighting through the entire building. And the lights are off 99% of the year (80 hours out of 8700 hours). The winery uses very little electricity.
Low Water Usage: Water can be a big problem for wineries. We reduce our dependency on water by hand rinsing our barrels pumping our wines about only 3 times per year. We estimate that we use only about 120 gallons of hot water annually for washing tanks and equipment. We monitor our municipal water usage and remain in the top 8th percentile of usage compared to all other households in Ashland. We use so little water in our winery operations that it is hardly detectable.
Natural Cork Bottle Closures: We use the highest quality grade-0 cork from Sardinia. These forests have been sustainably harvested by one Italian family for over 100 years. Besides its beautiful beaches, Sardinia is known for its large, government protected Cork tree forests.
Today, the 4th generation of the Molinas family sustainably harvests cork from these protected trees. Different than most cork available in the market, the bark is allowed to mature an additional year. This leads to a less porous, higher quality cork, and has less impact on the forest. Throughout the entire process from tree to finished cork, quality control is strictly monitored and the trees are respected and protected for future harvests.
Our top premium Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve wine can age from 5-20 years.
Watch: Harvesting Cork in Sardinia: https://youtu.be/QSM-6rnvnkQ