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Villa Milagro Vineyards provides a habitat for native species of birds, plants, and wildlife as well as wine grapes. Villa Milagro has been recognized for its use of organic and sustainable practices in the wine making industry. Founder Audrey Gambino states, "Factory agriculture model that use chemicals is not necessary in a vineyard. With a reasonable amount of manual labor and daily attention, vines can produce lovely fruit with minimal inputs. That is our model."
When new wineries enter the market, most generally use pesticides and herbicides to treat their grapes regardless of the size of the vineyard. Villa Milagro has been dedicated from day one to stay away from this way of practicing. They have come up with two somewhat simple ways to operate. One is hard work using hoes to remove weeds. The other is a "one of a kind" multi-purpose mower-edge-flamer that helps with trimming the edges of the rows and removes weeds from under the vines. This innovative piece of equipment was put together by Steve Gambino, Co-founder of Villa Milagro Vineyards.
When we asked founder Dr. Audrey Gambino why they chose to focus on sustainability when Villa Milagro was coming to fruition, she simply stated that, "We are earth friendly people who believe strongly that humans are short-term stewards of the land who must act responsibly toward it and for future generations."
When asked why they hardly ever use pesticides and herbicides, Dr. Audrey Gambino believes strongly that if your farm is ecologically balanced there is no need for them. This is not only about creating wine that is free of any unnatural chemicals, it's about a couple who believes in acting as stewards toward the land so future generations can live happy, healthy lives, too. We can see they believe this by the example they are setting in their sustainable practices at Villa Milagro.
While many wineries today use herbicides and pesticides to treat their grapes, Villa Milagro is one of only a dozen wineries that has been recognized nationally for its sustainable practices. Society has become more aware of the negative implications chemicals have on humans. Besides benefiting the environment, Villa Milagro also understands how desirable it may be for people to consume wine that is completely natural. While they currently create about 1500 cases of wine a year, they are optimistic they will be creating double that in 5 to 10 years from now.
Using organic and sustainable practices, the vineyard is a safe haven for many migratory and resident birds, including American Kestrels and Eagles along the Delaware River banks. Sections of the 104 acres of farmland preserved property are dedicated to “conservation strips” and natural woodlands where native species of New Jersey wildflowers and plants provide food and shelter for birds, red fox, and deer.
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Dr. Audrey Gambino, Chef du Vin at Villa Milagro Vineyards