History of The Old Field
On the east end of Southold village, "The Old Field" was referenced in Southold records as early as 1660. Native Americans farmed the field for hundreds of years, until European settlers arrived in 1640 and bartered with the natives for use of The Old Field.
In 1974, during the advent of vinifera grapevine plantings, after over 400 years of traditional agriculture, the first vineyard was plantedin The Old Field. Christian Baiz, a member of the fourth generation of his family to farm these lands, led the Old Field's transformation.
In 1996 Christian and his wife Rosamond Phelps, purchased the Old Field from his family. They planted Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Noir winegrapes. From these grapes, today Ros and Chris, along with their grown children, Perry and Ryan - the fifth generation to work the land- are crafting premium red, white, and sparkling wines. The Old Field has the only mother daughter winery/vineyard team on Long Island.
2014 marks 95 years of family ownership and operation of the farm and 39 years of wine growing at The Old Field Vineyards.
Our sustainable practices include:
- Hand-harvesting, hand leaf pulling, hand pruning, etc., keeps the tractor out of the vineyards and thereby lessening soil compaction and diesel usage.
- Flail chopping vine prunings adds mulch back into the soil.
- Organic sprays are used whenever possible.
- Cover crops (grasses and legumes in between and under some vine rows) add nitrogen-fixing bacteria and cut back on wind and water erosion.
- Bats, barn swallows, dragon flies, frogs, and ladybugs help keep the insect population under control.
- A wild flower patch encourages promotion of "good" insects in our vineyards.
- Chickens are raised for fertilizer, bug control, and eggs.
- Many unique micro-climates influenced by salt water, fresh water, and diverse flora and fauna.
- Bio-dynamic fertilizers are sprinkled throughout some of our vineyards.
- In our winery we use the gentle gravity approach to transfer, rack and bottle our wines. We hand bottle and hand label each wine. Often we start our fermentation with wild yeasts already flourishing in our vineyards