About the Vineyards
Our grapes are grown on 4 vineyard sites totaling 85 acres. We have 11 vinifera varieties planted (Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon) and are proud to say that our vines are some of the oldest on Long Island. The Riesling and Cabernet Franc at our Main Road Vineyard were planted in 1981 shortly after the “founding” of our region in 1973. Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc at the Bridge Lane Vineyard followed in 1983. The vines at Oregon Road West were planted in 1997, and we completed our plantings in 1999 with the reds at the Oregon Road vineyard. We also boast the largest contiguous plot of Pinot Blanc in the US (14 acres).
Our sites were carefully chosen for their loamy, well-drained soils and proximity to the Long Island Sound and Peconic Bay, two bodies of water that bestow moderate temperatures and an extended growing season that is a month longer than any other New York wine region.
Sustainable Viticulture / Farming is a set of locally adopted “best practices” based on 3 general components: environmental stewardship, social equity and economic viability. These practices and guidelines vary from region to region according to local eco-systems and environments (soil types, climates and other factors) – but share the common goal of protecting the long term health and viability of local agriculture, eco-systems and environments while positively contributing to the local economies where they reside.
In this regard, it’s helpful to first understand that the North Fork of Long Island as an agricultural region has some of the most restrictive guidelines (of all US farming regions) for sustainable farming (and for what is or is not allowable) on our farms and in our vineyards, in relation to the use of non-organic compounds. The immediate concern and primary reason for the tight restrictions on the North Fork are the (relatively shallow) sandy soils combined with our close proximity to the ocean. Any compound used in our vineyards will find its way into the ground water very quickly, hence the tough restrictions.
Lieb Cellars is an herbicide and pesticide free vineyard, meaning we use mechanical cultivation to control weed growth and physical barriers to control pests. More specifically we use the Clemens Weed Badger (vs. spraying chemicals such as Round Up, a common practice in many vineyards and farms). Deer fencing and bird netting are examples of pest control.
Fungus (powdery or downy mildew) can be a challenge in our region and is best treated or controlled with a variety of compounds including stylet oil (mineral oils), phostrol (phosphorous acid) and sulfur. Any chemicals or organic compounds that we use fall within the local sustainable approach guidelines—and are used very sparingly. In this example, we also go an extra step in using recyclable sprayer, which recovers 90% of the materials applied, to be re-used—rather than emitting them directly into the air.
Other sustainable practices would include hand harvesting (reduces gas consumption and carbon pollution while positively impacting local economy/workforce) and packaging our wines in eco-friendly containers, which also greatly reduces our carbon footprint.
Our goal in all of these practices is to “have nothing leave our farm,” or to lessen our “impact of farming” on our local environment while promoting and protecting the health of our region and our local agriculture and economies.