We spend the early part of Saturday afternoon on a private tour of The Old Field Vineyards.
The Old Field Vineyards are gorgeous!! They have tons of acres that span from the road to the water (and apparently, they are one of the only vineyards that do that).
On Saturdays, the vineyard offers a tour that talks about sustainable farming and the practices that their vineyard uses along with a boxed lunch and tasting.
The Old Field is a family owned and run farm, one of the few left on the Island, and they pride themselves on taking care of the land themselves. The family does everything, with a few helpers! I was really impressed on our tour.
Perry, the daughter of the vineyard owners, was our tour guide. She was very imformative and you could just tell that she loves her job, even though she is out in the field plucking leaves off of trees and harvesting for 12 hours a day.
The buildings on the land today are the original buildings, but they are now houses and a tasting room instead of the hotel, tavern and chicken coops that they used to be in the early 1900’s when Perry’s grandmother bought the land.
Before walking around, we stopped at their Mulberry tree and tried some mulberries!
I had never tried mulberries before. They are so sweet!
Many vineyards do not keep other trees on their property because they want all of their time, energy and sun to be devoted to their vines. However, Perry makes a good point – she believes that it is important to keep other trees on the property because they house other wildlife, such as birds, that eat insects and things that would otherwise be eating her grapes.
We spent about an hour walking around the grounds with Perry describing to us their sustainable practices and how they grow their grapes.
They grow 3 types of grapes on their property – Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir. The leaves are different on each.
The netting is kept at the bottom to keep the deer from eating all of the grapes.
This is the oldest vine on the farm, which I believe was 35 years old…it is still producing grapes, but not nearly as many as it did when it was new.
Many vineyards only keep their vines for about 5 years before replanting them. A new vine produces many more grape clusters than an old vine, however, Perry explained that the flavor of the old vine grapes is much better. Quality over quantity.
The Old Field tries to be as sustainable as possible. Their land is very wet, therefore, they rarely need to water their vines! The only time they need to water is if they have a dry spell in the weather, such as last week. Other than that, the land provides all of the moisture that the vines need to grow.
They do not use pesticies unless absolutely needed, which is rare.
After the tour of the fields, we headed into the wine celler.
When it is time to make the wine, the grapes are picked and brought into this tiny room full of steel barrels and french barrels for storage. They use mostly french barrels due to the flavoring that they give off.
Perry’s mom does all of the wine making and mixing – she’s a pro!
Then, it was time for lunch and our tasting. They had ordered sandwiches for all of us. My sandwich included hummus and roasted vegetables. It was great.
We tried all of their wines.
While we ate and drank, this guy enjoyed our company.
It was a great way to spend an afternoon!
I love learning about sustainable farming in general, but it was even more fun to learn about how a vineyard tries to stay sustainable. A lot of farms and vineyards offer these types of tours, so check out their websites for more information.