Union Grove Muscadine Vineyard Project
Advancing Organic Biology for a Sustainable Future
Union Grove Farm boasts nearly 900 acres with 10+ working acres of vineyards, orchards, and gardens.
A superfood vineyard, a 300-year-old farm revitalized
The Muscadine Grape is one of the most nutritious and delicious grape varieties on
Earth. Todd Harrington was approached by a landowner/farmer team to establish a
thriving muscadine vineyard at Union Grove farms, in the heart of North Carolina. This
project faced a lot of challenges from a landscape that had been degraded for
centuries. Todd among others created a site plan for the owner that involved making high-quality,
productive, fungal compost and compost extract that would help re-establish the
biology needed for a fertile vineyard.
Union Grove Muscadine Vineyard
In 2001, Bohlen purchased 10 acres of farmland in Chapel Hill. Published from an article back in 2021 Greg Bohlen, CEO of Union Grove Farm, and his pursuit of land and sustainable farming practices. Bohlen grew up on a farm in Illinois and learned the value of land from an early age. Union Grove Farm recently acquired 279 acres of Maple View Farm, expanding their total acreage to almost 900. Maple View Farm had decided to stop milk production after 25 years, and Union Grove Farm partnered with Maple View Ice Cream and Country Store to continue providing ice cream and local farm products.
Initially, Bohlen attempted to operate a pick-your-own produce business on 10 acres of farmland but faced difficulties with the soil and abandoned the idea. He then explored truffle farming and experimented with muscadine grapes, eventually deciding to focus on growing eco-friendly grapes. Bohlen’s interest in regenerative farming methods was sparked when he spoke on behalf of Beyond Meat, a plant-based meat company.
Initially unfamiliar with the term “regenerative,” Bohlen attended a conference and learned about its principles, which emphasize sustainable and chemical-free agriculture. Intrigued, he wondered if regenerative farming could be applied to grape cultivation.
In addition to acquiring a significant amount of land, Union Grove Farm had assembled an exceptional group of experts. Among them was Todd Harrington, a soil biologist and consultant specializing in the soil food web. Harrington’s expertise played a crucial role in the farm’s operations. Alongside Harrington, the team also included Martin Compton, a regenerative viticulturist; Dane Jensen, a shepherd, and regenerative farmer; Dr. Laura Kavanaugh, a genomics specialist from Duke University; and Meredith Sabye, who managed communications. However, it was Harrington’s knowledge and guidance on the soil food web that greatly contributed to Union Grove Farm’s success.
2023 Looking ahead, Bohlen’s team has spent three years developing their hybrid muscadine with the desired characteristics. This year, they plan to plant 10,000 vines, and in the following year, they aim to expand to 60,000 vines across two muscadine varieties. Bohlen anticipates that it will take approximately ten years to reach their goal of cultivating grapes on a thousand acres of land.
Fall Visit 2019
Summer 2020 Visit
By employing innovative agricultural practices and leveraging their expertise, they sought to optimize the growth and output of their grape crops by utilizing over-cropping. Union Grove’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of agricultural efficiency demonstrates their dedication to delivering superior quality grapes and contributing to the industry’s advancement.
"The sweet scent of grapes in the air, and the lush vines blanketed in sunshine - a vineyard is truly a paradise on earth." T. Harrington