David Dennison runs a vineyard and orchard in County Waterford. David is the founder of Viking Irish Drinks, producing craft wine and cider on his farm in Waterford. The 1-hectare vineyard, which was planted in 2010, provides red and white grapes for wine. There is 2.2 hectares of cider apple trees to produce craft cider. They also produce liqueurs and are now experimenting with alcohol-free beverages. They grow blackcurrants and blackberries on the land, as well as keeping some hives of honeybees.
The entire system is managed with huge sensitivity towards nature and wildlife on the land. David is in the process of Organic conversion; however no chemical sprays have been used on the farm in 20 years. There are different habitats on the farm including woodland areas, meadow, thick hedgerows and 1.5 acres of wetland. Research by the National Biodiversity Data Center stated there are very healthy populations of insects on the land, including bees, hoverflies, beetles. An array of different birds live on the farm including jay thrushes, swallows, buzzards, snipe, woodcock, goldfinches and hen pheasants. There is a reed-bed system to clean wastewater from the wine and cider production. In 2008 David planted an area of nut trees including hazelnut, cobnut and walnuts trees in an effort to provide habitat for red squirrel on the land.
I believe this farmers is an innovator in Irish farming. Having an organic Vineyard is most unusual in Ireland and the farm in undergoing organic conversion in 2022 . The farm is also converting a Cider apple orchard to organics. It is important to state that the farmer uses no synthetic pesticides or chemical fertilizers on his farm. The farm has many habitats including 4 ponds that receive waste from the cidery, a reed bed system to handle the waste, bee hives . The farm produces eating apples, cider apples, red and white wines, Liquers and honey and all produce is branded and is sold locally and through Supervalu's Food academy. I cannot endorse this farm highly enough The farm delivers on ecosystem services, public goods , farming for nature , and the highest quality plant based produce in an area where intensification of agriculture is rampant. This is the the type of farm that we need to fly the flag for Ireland Food and Drink Sector . Uniquely positioned at the edge of Waterford city this farm is ideal for demonstrating to the public and other farmers what can be achieve by working with natural systems
Nominator: John Brennan, Manager, Leitrim Organic Farmers Coop