We saw a documentary of this 650-acre ranch on Green TV. Amazing - I'd love to visit the place.
Long Meadow Ranch is a 650-acre historic ranch nestled high atop the Mayacamas Mountains above the Napa Valley. Here they produce award-winning wines and handcrafted extra virgin olive oils – as well as grass-fed beef, eggs, and heirloom fruits and vegetables. Their extraordinary food products have been featured by America's top chefs.
Long Meadow Ranch has re-established vineyards first planted on the ranch in the 1870s and they have resumed producing estate-bottled wine from the ranch's distinctive mountain "terroir."
The owner's vision is to make wines as food – to create world class wines that truly complement a meal – using sustainable, organic farming methods.
However, their integrated organic farming system is built not only around wine making, but also includes world class estate-produced olive oil, a substantial herd of grass-fed Highland cattle, an organic vegetable garden, and an egg-producing poultry flock. They even breed and work their own Appaloosa and POA horses.
They are creating a modern, commercially successful, version of the family farm – one that is widely acknowledged as a purveyor of fine food. All of the crops are organically produced and are certified by California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF). Their wines, oils, beef, and vegetables have been featured by America's top chefs.
The award-winning, earth-formed, wine and olive oil facility and the adjacent moist, cool caves allow them to produce handcrafted wines and olive oils entirely on our own estate under carefully controlled conditions. Led by winemaker, Ashley Heisey, the staff is committed to pioneering modern approaches to their centuries-old crafts.
Long Meadow Ranch's solar panel arrays generate enough electricity to supply their energy needs and they employ biodiesel fuels in all of the farm equipment. Protected by easements granted to the Napa Valley Land Trust, the land and that of the neighbors will continue to provide a unique rural environment rich with wildlife for future generations.
Their web site has a virtual tour of this very special place. See how Appaloosa horse breeding, organic vegetable gardening, and waste composting help set new standards for environmental stewardship while producing challengers to the world's finest wines and olive oils.
Long Meadow Ranch set out to prove that they could produce world class wine using sustainable, organic farming methods. Among the pioneers in establishing an organically farmed vineyard in the Mayacamas Mountains, Long Meadow Ranch is still one of less than thirty organically certified vineyards in the County of Napa.
They are not former hippies in tie-dyed T-shirts. They do not make eclectic slightly "off-quality" products that you have to "believe-in" to value. They are committed to proving that world class quality and responsible farming go hand-in-hand.
They do not approach organic farming theologically. They do not have a belief system they are trying to evangelize. Instead, they have learned that organic farming methods produce higher quality at lower cost, with real consumer benefit. Every farming practice they have adopted at Long Meadow Ranch is grounded in scientific first principle and they hold a well-developed point of view why it works. They are committed to the highest quality and organic farming is the mechanism that allows us to achieve extraordinary results.
Instead of the "mono-culture" that has emerged in the Napa Valley, at Long Meadow Ranch they have developed an integrated farming system that relies on each part of the Ranch contributing to the health of the whole. Vineyards and wine making, olive orchards and olive oil making, and horse breeding all work together in complementary fashion (not to mention the egg-laying poultry flock and the organic vegetable gardens).
They make their own fertilizers on the Ranch through an extensive composting operation that relies on organic material from each segment of the Ranch. Soil erosion is controlled and new soils are built through the extensive use of permanent cover crops made up of carefully selected grasses, clovers, and legumes.
The poultry flock located at LMR Rutherford Gardens helps illustrate one of the central concepts of farming at Long Meadow Ranch – the notion of "integrated" farming or beneficial inter-related "loops" As described by owner, Ted Hall: "As we raise the many varieties of rare heirloom tomatoes, the finest, most uniform fruit is sold to fine restaurants. One of our best accounts in the Napa Valley is Auberge du Soleil. The chef there will buy the tomatoes. If they aren't first quality, we'll sell them at their roadside stand or at the farmers' market. Our third-quality tomatoes are sold to a great little drive-in restaurant, where they're made into gazpacho."
"If the tomatoes aren't good enough for that, they'll be fed to their organic chickens. Because they eat fabulous tomatoes and veggies, the chickens lay spectacular eggs with yolks almost neon-like in their color. We then get to sell the eggs back to Auberge du Soleil! There are even more efficiencies here. Since we raise the poultry near the vegetable production, we have no cost of poultry feed because we're feeding them their leftover vegetables. When we're done with the crop season, we have all the organic matter – old pumpkin vines, dead tomato plants – that then goes into a nearby compost pile. This time we use the chicken manure as the source of essential nitrogen. And, by spring the compost is ready to go back on the field as fertilizer. The cycle begins again."
They do not use herbicides or pesticides and all crops are certified by California Certified Organic Farmers.