Why We Pursue Sustainable Practices
In neither Vermilion nor a valley, our name pays homage to the watershed in which we reside in, the Vermilion River. Our vineyard drains into our pond, our pond into our neighbor's pond, our neighbor's pond to Chance Creek, and from Chance Creek to the Vermilion River, a major tributary of Lake Erie. The name Vermilion Valley Vineyards is a constant reminder for us that whatever we do on our small farm in the countryside, good or bad, through pesticide usage, fertilizer usage, soil tillage, or any other process that occurs day to day will not only impact our precious river but the greater cycle of nature.
Our Land Use
The goal of farming is simple, grow a healthy crop and sell it. The conversation gets more difficult when you factor in the health of the air, soil, water, vines, and farmers. To achieve this, on our land we find ourselves in a never-ending search for perfect harmony between holism, science, and logistics.
Holism: To us, taking a holistic approach to our land is to view our vines, air, water, soil, and the organisms as individual parts to a single whole. Understanding that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, when problems arise in our system, we aim to respond to not just the superficial infection but also to the deeper root cause within the whole.
Science: Never in history have we been better positioned to be "in the know". The more we know about our weather, soil, air, water, vines, crop, etc. the better prepared we are to make crucial decisions at crucial times within the season. Through science, we can accurately monitor our actions in the vineyard and frame it into a proper cost benefit analysis.
Logistics: Keeping our environmental impact and labor requirements to a minimum is all about the when, where and how. Life is good when Mother Nature is at our heels and not the other way around.
Every aspect of our building has been engineered to practice and reflect environmental sustainability with four major examples:
Architecture: The basic design of our tasting room emphasises the tall "monitor" and windows a top our building allowing for significant natural airflow. When hot air rises and is expelled out of upper windows, naturally cool air from beneath is sucked into the void. Not only does this create a temperature inversion but also a cool inside breeze.
Geothermal heating and cooling: As the bottom of our pond remains 55 degrees year round, we are able to utilize a glycol loop from our furnace to the pond and back. The average furnace/AC works on direct mechanical heating and cooling of ambient air temperature (example: heating from 0 to 65 in winter and 90 to 72 in summer). However, our unit is able to work with a 55-degree baseline. This allows us to heat from 55 to 65 in the winter (only 10 degrees mechanically heated). In the summer we take our excess heat, dump it into the pond and pull back the chilled glycol that cools the air being forced through the building.
Insulation: The average house in North Central Ohio carries an average wall R-value (the standard for insulation efficacy) of 13. With the thick wall design of our tasting room allowing us to carry a higher insulation capacity, the R-value of our building is no less than 40. This allows us to precisely control indoor air temperature.
Locally sourced building materials: In the construction of our building, we sought to utilize as many locally sourced materials as possible. Our beautiful hardwood floors were grown and milled of ash and walnut from our very own property.