Wetlands and grapes don’t mix – the saying is that grapes don’t like wet feet. At Gleason Brook Winery, we have an irrigation pond adjacent to a large wetland that sits well below the bench where the grapes are grown. Most of the time, grapes don’t t need irrigation – they send out deep roots. But newly planted vines may require some irrigation in their first two or three years if there is an extended period of low or no rainfall.
Most farm ponds are pretty sad from an ecological perspective. Excess nutrients and pesticides drain in from adjacent fields, limiting the types of flora and fauna that can exist there. At our winery, we don’t use pesticides, and fertilizer use is strictly controlled. As a result, the pond is teeming with life, including several species of frogs, fish, turtles, salamanders, and one species of water snake. Ducks and geese nest here in the spring, and great blue herons frequently try their luck at getting a free meal from the abundant frog population. Mink have also been observed working the edge of the pond. The pictures show some of the pond’s abundant wildlife.