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Sustainable Farming and the Sobon Family
Our Farming Practices
In 1989, our family made the decision to start farming sustainably.
After a winter of much research, we began using as few chemicals
as possible. Our growing practices have evolved over the years,
and today we employ complimentary plantings, beneficial bugs,
and other natural growing techniques that we believe encourage
healthier grapes and better tasting wines.
We now farm 200 acres of wine grapes, olives, prunes and walnuts.
The wines are made by conventional means using a minimum of
sulfites to preserve freshness and color. At bottling, our
wine contains between 15-20 parts per million free sulfites,
which diminish after several months in the bottle. (for informational
purposes, wines with no added sulfites can contain 8-12 parts
per million of sulfites, a natural product of fermentation).
We believe the small amounts of sulfites we use are necessary
to maintain the freshness, stability, ageability, and enjoyment
of our wines.
Healthy soils grow healthy grapes, which make delicious wines.
A very personal approach is taken with our grape growing endeavors.
We take pride in knowing and caring for each vine so that
it will reward us with the best flavors possible.
Composting is a vital way to nourish the soil. We use 600
to 800 tons of compost every year. We make our own from grape
skins, seeds, and stems. And we purchase various composts
Winemaker Paul Sobon was featured on KCRA news (view here) showing how he mountain bikes through the vineyards to check the grapes. While others use gas powered quads or similar machines to check on the progress of the grapes, Paul, and several other younger winemakers, find it is more relaxing to tour the fields on their mountain bikes. "I can get a lot closer to the vines this way," he says. "It's cleaner. Plus, it's a great workout."
In 2007, we installed a 63-Kw photovoltaic solar system. The
system, at Shenandoah Vineyards, was sized to supply 100% of
the electrical needs of the winery, office and vineyards. The
lighting system was retrofitted with the latest, most efficient
technology available. Our heating and cooling systems are the
most efficient available.
Our Carbon Footprint
Along with the solar system, we recycle our cardboard, glass
and metal waste. The white paper waste from our office (about
10 cubic feet per week) is shredded and added to our grape
compost to aid in its breakdown.
footprint* has diminished to the point that we are more
than carbon neutral. This means we are eliminating more CO2
from the enviornment than we use.