By Michelle Harrison
Autumn is upon us and the harvest season is here. A great way to enjoy the scenery is relaxing in a comfortable chair and taking in the foliage along with some local wine. Growing and caring for grapes can be challenging, but Fresh Tracks Farm in Berlin, Vermont, has found the answer while incorporating sustainable practices on the winery and farm.
Christina Castegren, proprietor of Fresh Tracks Farm, tells us the key to growing grapes in the New England climate is choosing the right variety. Fresh Tracks started with 17 types and has narrowed it down to 6 cold-hardy varieties.
Fresh Tracks has also taken on the challenge responsible and sustainable farming. After the harvest, the grape pomace is recycled through composting throughout the farm. The 8.1 kW solar system installed in 2009, is adjusted seasonally to maximize production and support the winery’s electrical needs. A geothermal system maintains cellar temperatures of 55ºF in the winery and heats and cools the tasting room.
While wine is the primary business of Fresh Tracks, they also sustainably harvest firewood for use at home and the Sugarhouse Round, which has 1000 trees tapped to make maple syrup and maple wine. They also raise chickens for eggs and have a very large vegetable garden used by all of the staff.
When your travels bring you through the Dog River Valley of Vermont, be sure to stop by Fresh Tracks Farm and Winery. Visit the state-of-the-art tasting room and enjoy other events hosted at the farm. You will be glad you did.
Fresh Tracks Farm is located at 4373 VT-12, Montpelier, Vermont. The farm’s web site is freshtracksfarm.com.