Simply put, sustainability is not enough.
The Vineyards at Dodon is a family-owned vineyard and winery producing Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon-driven wines from the western shore uplands of the Chesapeake Bay.
After more than 10 years of diligently practicing sustainable viticulture, we have become convinced that these practices will neither sustain the environment nor produce wine characterized by balance, complexity, depth, and longevity. Simply put, sustainability is not enough. Rather, we must restore, rebuild, and regenerate the ecosystem in which we live.
At Dodon, we view the vineyard as part of a larger landscape that also includes natural areas, riparian buffers, pollinator sanctuaries, cropland, and livestock. Blending traditional farming methods with modern ecological science, these “resources” are managed to maximize biodiversity, both above and below ground.
Healthy soils – shown to enhance water infiltration and holding capacity, reduce microbial pathogens, weeds, and herbivory, increase long-term carbon storage, and improve plant health – represent the cornerstone of Dodon’s approach. Mycorrhizal fungal populations are encouraged by adding compost produced on the farm in a static aerobic system that relies on ramial wood chips inoculated with indigenous microorganisms. Dormant pruning wood is mulched in situ, sheep and chickens are grazed within the vineyard during the winter, and diverse cover crops are planted between and within rows. Cover crops are terminated at bloom using a custom roller-crimper, and herbicides have been eliminated.
Healthy soils are complemented by highly diverse ecosystem of native grasses, forbs, hedgerows, and forests that provide habitat for natural predators and parasites of insect pests. Taken together, these agricultural methods have allowed us to reduce pesticide use and tractor passes while improving soil organic matter, plant health and resilience, and wine quality.
Our winery is powered largely by solar-generated electricity. Grape mark and non-wine fermentation products are composted, and carbon dioxide is recycled to protect the wine during cold soak and extended maceration. Local distribution reduces the transportation-related impact of glass containers.