Information for the Media

The Vineyards at Dodon LLC (Dodon) is a vertically integrated vineyard and winery producing  wines that express the distinctive qualities of grapes grown exclusively on site.

Key Staff

Co-owner/winemaker: Tom Croghan
Co-owner: Polly Pittman
Assistant winemaker: Seth McCombs
Director of client services: Regina Mc Carthy
Consulting winemaker: Steve Blais (Michel Rolland Consulting)
Vineyard consultant: Lucie Morton (Morton Viticulture)

Location

 391 Dodon Rd., Davidsonville, Anne Arundel County, MD (off MD Rt. 424, 2 miles north of MD Rt. 2)

Signficance of location:

  • Dodon is a 550-acre historic property that has been in the Pittman family for ten consecutive generations.

  • The largest working family farm in Anne Arundel County, the property is actively managed as a vineyard and horse training operation.

  • Historically planted in crops, including Oronoco tobacco, its hilly topography and sandy loam “Dodon Series” soils are ideally suited to grapes and impart distinctive aromatics, minerality, and texture to the wines.

About Dodon Series Soils:

  • Our vineyards are characterized by deep, well-drained soils, renamed the “Dodon Series” in 2003 by the U.S. National Cooperative Soil Survey because of their distinctive characteristics. As ultasols, Dodon’s soils age quickly and readily leach available nutrients, including nitrogen, calcium, and magnesium. These characteristics make them marginal soils for most agricultural crops, but they are ideal for balanced, aromatic wines with a subtle minerality. More information can be found here & here.

Vineyards: 27,246 vines planted on 16 acres since 2010:

Merlot: 7,950 vines on 4.7 acres
Cabernet Franc: 4,510 vines on 2.6 acres
Cabernet Sauvignon: 2,521 vines on 1.5 acres
Petit Verdot: 1,615 vines on 1 acre
Chardonnay: 4,350 vines on 2.5 acres
Sauvignon Blanc: 6,300 vines on 3.6 acres

First vintage – 2011

Significance of planting/growing techniques:

  • Focus on simple, traditional, sustainable agricultural processes that return balance to the soil, roots, and vines; provide the necessary building blocks for superior wine grapes; and that enhance the environment. High density planting on deep, well-drained soils and meticulous canopy management.

  • Restricting the number of clusters per vine ensures fully ripened fruit and maximizes concentration, and extensive sorting following harvest enhances wine quality.

Agroecological approach:

  • Vineyard Orientation: We oriented the vineyard in a way that maximizes airflow and sunlight that dry morning dew, prevent mildew, and reduce the need for pesticides. This natural orientation is supplemented by careful canopy management and leaf stripping.

  • Tillage: We use targeted tillage, rather than herbicides, to control weeds in the vineyard. Simply put, tillage works well, gives us the ability to remove only those weeds that are causing problems, and isn’t subject to resistance.

  • Pesticide Minimization: We minimize use of pesticides through healthy soils and vines, intense canopy management, and diverse buffers between the vineyard and nearby woods. If a pesticide application is necessary, we use the most environmentally sound material available. We are careful to apply the minimum rate necessary to achieve control, and we use a tunnel sprayer that recycles pesticide material, significantly reducing release into the surrounding environment.

  • Cover Crops: We conserve the soil by creating a dense cover crop throughout the vineyard, using a mixture of grasses to achieve our goals – clover to fix nitrogen, rye to break up compaction and restore organic matter, fescues to stand up to the weight of the tractor, and forbs to attract beneficial insects throughout the growing season.

  • Soil Health: We stimulate diverse, healthy bacterial growth in the soils by giving them the right kinds of food. For example, by adding crab meal in the spring, we encourage growth of bacteria that in turn produce a chitinase active against powdery mildew, a common fungal disease.

  • Beneficial Insects: We encourage natural predators against insect pests by planting wild flowers that provide natural habitat and avoiding broad spectrum insecticides – including most organic oils that are as harmful to beneficial insects like lady bugs and praying mantises as they are to pests.

  • Recycling: We use as few off-farm inputs as we can, using instead the products of our labor, and nature’s, to create a sustainable environment. We recycle and reuse almost everything, turning fallen trees into furniture and firewood, grape skins and horse manure into compost, and table scraps into chicken feed.

  • Solar Power: The winery is powered primarily, and in most years completely, by solar generated electricity.

Winery:  Approximately 5,000 square foot winery with elevated crush pad, temperature control, and underground barrel room opened for the 2013 harvest.  Production at full capacity will be 3,500 cases.

Significance of winery features:  

  • Approximately 5,000 square foot winery with elevated crush pad, temperature control, and underground barrel room.

  • Production at full capacity will be approximately 3,500 cases.

  • Gentle processing procedures include hand harvesting, hand sorting, and gravity-based delivery of the fruit to the receiving tank. These practices ensure that expressive fruit aromas are preserved.

  • Winemaking techniques, such as temperature control, oxygen manipulation, and extended maceration, focus on producing the conditions that will allow the wine to express the fruit in the fermenter.

  • Solar technology and geothermal heating and cooling minimize Dodon’s environmental impact.

Barrel Program:

  • Our goal is to enhance the depth, longevity, and structure of Dodon wines by introducing the appropriate levels of oxygen during élevage. We seek to minimize the influence of toast and oak flavors.

  • Exclusively French oak from selected forests in the center of France.

  • Barrels are sourced from selected coopers who work with the Dodon team to select the appropriate barrel format, stave thickness, and toast for each variety and block.

  • Barrel wood is aged 36 months, and toast levels range from medium to medium plus. 

  • Red wines are in barrel for two years and barrels are used twice. White wines are in barrel for one year and barrels are used four or five times.

wines

Portfolio: Dodon portfolio is split into two categories: Collectors wines and Dodon Series.

  • Dodon’s Collectors wines are only made in the best vintages that allow for premium wines. The Collectors wines include Drum Point (a barrel-fermented and aged Sauvignon Blanc with small amounts of Chardonnay), Dungannon (a Merlot-led blend), and Oronoco (a Cabernet Sauvignon-led blend). 

  • The Dodon Series wines include a dry Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and a red blend called South Slope.

Wine Style: Dodon wines are always crafted with the goals of expressing a story of time and place, and achieving balance, harmony, depth, and longevity, with fresh acidity that is required for the dining table.

Access and Events: Dodon is not open to the public.

  • Tours and tastings are “by appointment only.”

  • All on-site events are open to Dodon Wine Club members only.

Press Inquiries: Contact Regina Mc Carthy at regina@dodonvineyards.com, 410-798-1126 or 410-533-6447.