June 30, 2014–Silver Thread Vineyard is pleased to announce its participation in New York State’s Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) program.  AEM is a voluntary, incentive-based program that helps farmers operate environmentally sound and economically viable businesses.  Administered by the NYS Soil & Water Conservation Committee, AEM is focused on minimizing runoff, conserving soil and protecting drinking water.

Silver Thread qualified for participation in AEM through its use of the following best practices:

  • Soil Management: improving soil organic matter with mulching
  • Pesticide Use: utilization of Integrated Pest Management practices by a certified applicator
  • Pesticide Storage, Mixing and Loading: state-of-the-art spray shed for storage and mixing of vineyard applications

Many people know that under the previous owner, Silver Thread experimented with organic growing methods and even obtained organic certification for its vineyard from 1992-1997.  Those practices did not prove to be economically viable for the European grape varieties planted at our vineyard. In order to be successful with organic viticulture in the Finger Lakes climate, copper sulfate must be used. Copper sulfate is one of the most poisonous  and persistent spray materials that could be used in a vineyard.

Current owners Paul and Shannon Brock have chosen not to use copper sulfate and are employing a more pragmatic method of vineyard management, focusing on environmental stewardship as well as economic sustainability.  The cornerstone of their management style is Integrated Pest Management, a method of vineyard pest control in which we use knowledge about the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.

Silver Thread is excited to be recognized by the AEM program for its sustainable approach to viticulture, and to maintain a leadership role in environmentally-sound viticulture in the Finger Lakes.