Every Day is Earth Day at the Williamsburg Winery

Williamsburg Winery founder Patrick Duffeler has long touted the importance of reflecting in the woods of the Wessex Hundred Farm, home to thousands of majestic trees that he planted himself.


His love of nature that dates back to childhood visits to the forest with his mother inspired his conservation efforts that began when he purchased the farm in 1983. Earth Day offers a time to celebrate that commitment that began long before the sustainability movement became en vogue.


“I’ve put 250 acres of our farm into conservation,” Duffeler said. “All the parts that are covered with trees are in conservation.”


That includes 40 acres of woods of stunning copper beech trees well over a century old.


An initial 37 acres of planting in 1989 helped with erosion control near the part of the winery that is close to the ravines not far from the James River. Duffeler called it his Black Forest. Over the years, he has planted some 62,000 trees.


Hearty loblolly pines and mature oaks are also in the mix along with the magical Tree of Life, more than 300 years old.


An additional two acres of land on the farm contains a sustainable garden, which grows much of the seasonal produce that highlights the dishes at the Gabriel Archer Tavern.


While Duffeler enjoys the solitude that comes from walking underneath the canopy of the towering trees on the 420-acre farm, he also appreciates the impact they make toward a healthy environment. Trees store carbon pollution; one deciduous tree can capture as much as 750 gallons of stormwater annually. Trees are nature’s carbon removal engine as they absorb carbon dioxide emissions that pollute the area.


While Duffeler encourages visitors to the winery to enjoy the casual enjoyment of wine among friends, he is equally passionate about the hundreds of acres of green space as integral to Wessex Hundred as the vineyards themselves.


Breathing the fresh air invigorates him every morning.


It’s as if every day is Earth Day at the Williamsburg Winery, where sustainability has always come first.


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