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Frey Vineyards

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Frey Organic Wine Blog

Lisa Batson
 
August 7, 2017 | Lisa Batson

Organic Fig Bars, Gluten and Dairy Free

Organic Fig Bar

These delicious, flaky, chewy, sweet fig bars are nothing like the store bought cookies. These are easy to make and a perfect treat when paired with Frey Organic Pinot Noir.

Ingredients
Biscuit Dough
3 cups organic almond flour
4 tbsp organic unrefined coconut oil, melted
4 tbsp raw honey
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Filling
1 cup fresh organic figs
2 tbsp organic apple or lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine all biscuit dough ingredients in your food processor until it begins to stick together and forms into a ball. In a bowl, put the ball of dough in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.

Place figs in your food processor and finely chop.  Add in other filling ingredients and blend to a paste. Set aside until ready to assemble fig rolls.

Divide dough in four and roll each between two pieces of parchment paper.

You want each bout 1/2 an inch thick, rectangular in shape, approx. 10 x 4 inches. Leave the dough lying on the parchment paper.

Divide the fig filling into four and place each along the inside edge of each rectangle of biscuit dough. Leave a little gap of the biscuit dough, ¼ inch, on the inner side.  Spread the filling evenly length-wise and thickness-wise as much as possible.  See photo.

Fold over topside of the roll by lifting up the parchment paper. Seal the edge tight. Remove parchment, slice each roll into 6-10 fig rolls.

Place on a non-stick baking tray lightly greased with coconut oil. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.

Allow cooling for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully.  Serve with a glass of Frey Organic Pinot Noir.

 

Frey Vineyards
 
July 18, 2017 | Frey Vineyards

Organic Vegetable Spring Rolls

Vegetable Spring Rolls with Frey Organic Pinot Grigio

Fresh spring rolls should offer a pleasing contrast in texture (soft wrapper, chewy noodles, and crunchy vegetables) and flavors (fresh mint, basil, and cilantro; peanuts, spicy chilies, and salty sauce) which will pair perfectly with a cold glass of our Organic Pinot Grigio. Try to source organic ingredients for the health of farmworkers, your own health, and for future generations.

Ingredients
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
1 large cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into matchsticks
½ cup chopped green onion
½ cup fresh basil and/or mint leaves torn into ½ inch pieces
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup lettuce leaves chopped
2 cups cooked rice noodles
8 (8-inch) round brown rice paper wrappers

Peanut Sauce Ingredients and Recipe
¼ cup creamy organic peanut butter
1 tsp Asian chili-garlic sauce
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
Cream together peanut butter and brown sugar, then add vinegar, chili-garlic sauce and soy sauce.  Blend together to make a rich & creamy peanut sauce perfect for dipping in your Spring Rolls.

Wrap Recipe
1.  Prepare all ingredients in individual bowls.
2.  Spread clean, damp dishtowel on counter. Fill 9 inch pie plate with 1 inch of room-temperature water.  Submerge each wrapper in water until just pliable, about 2 minutes.  Lay softened wrapper on towel.  Scatter about 4 basil leaves, 4 mint leaves and 6 cilantro leaves over wrapper.  Arrange 5 cumber sticks horizontally on wrapper, leaving 2 inch boarder at bottom.  Top with carrots, lettuce leaves, green onion, and about 2 tbsp noodles.  Fold bottom of wrapper up over filling. Fold sides of wrapper over filling and then roll wrapper up into tight spring roll.
3.  Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.  Serve immediately with peanut dipping sauce and a glass of Frey Organic Pinot Grigio.

Organic Spring Roll ingredients

Organic Vegetable Spring Rolls

Lisa Batson
 
June 8, 2017 | Lisa Batson

Grilled Soy-Ginger Glazed Tofu


 
This tofu has a wonderfully soft, silky texture that contrasts nicely with the crisp, sweet and spicy Asian style grilled glaze. Enjoy this tasty meal with friends, family, and a bottle or two of Frey red wine. Cheers! 
 
Marinade:
5 cups water
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons Asian Chili-garlic sauce
 
Glaze:
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup mirin
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon Asian chili-garlic sauce
 
Tofu:
28 ounces firm tofu, sliced lengthwise into 1 inch think planks
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
 
1. For the Marinade: bring water to a boil, add soy sauce and chili garlic sauce, turn off heat and add tofu. Allow tofu to marinate for 20 minutes.
2. For the Glaze: simmer the soy sauce, water, sugar, mirin, ginger, garlic, cornstarch, and chili-garlic sauce in small saucepan over medium-high heat until thickened and reduced to ¾ cups, for 5-7 minutes.
3. For the tofu: Drain tofu from marinade and spread over paper towel-lined baking sheet, let drain for 20 minutes, then gently press dry with paper towels. Brush tofu with oil and season with salt and paper
4. For the Grill: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave all burners on high.
Clean and oil cooking grate. Gently place tofu on grill, perpendicular to grate bars. Cook until lightly browned on both sides, 6-10 minutes. Gently flip tofu halfway through cooking using 2 spatulas. Next, turn all burners to medium and brush tofu with glaze and cook until well browned, 1-2 minutes. Flip tofu, brush with glaze and cook until well browned. Transfer tofu to platter, brush with remaining ¼ cup glaze, and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with Asian coleslaw and a glass of Frey organic Sangiovese or Zinfandel.  Enjoy!

Katrina Frey
 
June 7, 2017 | Katrina Frey

Celebrating the 2017 Great American Eclipse

 

ORDER ECLIPSE WINES HERE

Here at Frey Vineyards we are longtime eclipse-chasers.  Our penchant for gazing upward was instilled at an early age by Paul Frey Sr. Two of his twelve children, Jonathan and Paul Frey, studied physics and astrophysics at University of California Santa Cruz and went on to become winemakers for the winery.  Jonathan and his wife Katrina traveled with brother Nathan Frey to Baja in 1990 to see their first total solar eclipse.  At high noon, as the sky began to darken, they stood on a hillside looking down at a Mexican family farm.  Chickens flew up to their roosts in the trees and the cows turned around and headed to their beds in the barn and the glory of the eclipse began.

Katrina and Jonathan’s most recent eclipse trip was on a Sky and Telescope cruise to Indonesia to see the 2016 solar eclipse over the Indian Ocean.  On board they met Polly White and Michael Zeiler of The Great American Eclipse, who were getting fellow travelers excited about the August 21st, 2017 eclipse that will streak coast to coast across North America.  One day on the deck of the ship, Polly and Katrina hatched a plan to craft an exclusive wine to honor this extraordinary event. 

What started out as just one wine quickly become three when the opportunity arose to debut Frey Vineyard’s first-ever organic non-sulfited sparkling wine. On a previous eclipse journey to Mongolia in 2008 Katrina and Jonathan met fellow eclipse-chaser Dr. Lobster.  We called upon him for inspiration for the back label texts.  Frey label designer Nicole Paisley Martensen culled vintage engravings from old astronomy books, and furthered her research with excellent resources from eclipse authority Fred Espenak.

We are proud to bring you Umbra Organic Zinfandel, Umbra Organic Chardonnay, and Totality, our first organic sparkling wine.  We’re looking forward to toasting the cosmos on August 21st!

“Umbra” is the dark inner shadow of the moon.

“Totality” is the period of a solar eclipse when the moon completely covers the sun.

For more information on the best places to view the August 21st, 2017 eclipse and to order eclipse-viewing glasses that make it safe for viewing the partial phases of this grand spectacle, log on to The Great American Eclipse.

Carolyn Brown
 
May 24, 2017 | Carolyn Brown

Why Soil Life and Microbial Action is so Important

(Written by Carolyn Brown, landscaper and gardener at Frey Vineyards.)

In 1924 Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Bio Dynamic Agriculture,  discussed in his Agriculture Lectures how we must view the soil as being alive and full of life-giving forces.  Also, how a living soil is akin to a plant and how plants themselves are an extension of the soil.  This vitality is passed on to us through the energy contained in foods grown from healthy, living soils.  That wellspring of life energy is not to be found in soils that have plant nutrients applied in a synthetic, chemical form.  Steiner also stressed the importance of making a farm so self contained that it becomes self sustaining; its soil’s fertility is generated, conserved and recycled and the farm becomes its own entity. Creating and applying compost made from spent plants, cover crops and animal manure produced on site is the best way to realize this.  The farm’s soil fertility becomes individualized to the land.  How different this is from relying on importing soil amendments from different regions or even from different countries.

Current scientific research is discovering how very complex the living soil is. There is a complex relationship between soil mycorrhizae – bacteria and fungi – and the plant kingdom.  Plants produce sugars through photosynthesis.  These sugars are exuded from plants’ roots into the surrounding soil, which feeds the soil fungi and bacteria.  In turn, these soil borne microorganisms help dissolve minerals and nutrients essential for plant growth and make them available in a form that plants can use.  The end result is that we get food which is much richer in vitamins and minerals than vegetables grown with synthetic fertilizers.  These microorganisms also allow plants to communicate with one and another!  Mycorrhizae form a giant underground web connecting plants together.  Plants that are being attacked by harmful insect pests pass the word on to other plants, which may protect themselves by making bad tasting chemicals, or chemicals that mimic predatory insect pheromones.  These pheromones draw the plant allies into the farm or garden and they keep the bad bugs in check.  What a great system!  Bio Dynamics means “life engenders life” and healthy living soil creats vibrant, healthy ecosystems and people –  a wonderful testimony to this way of farming.

Carolyn Brown
 
January 30, 2017 | Carolyn Brown

Plans For The New Winery Garden

The new winery site on West Road in Redwood Valley

At Frey Vineyards we are looking forward to breaking ground at our new winery this spring, and several of us are enjoying these rainy winter days making plans for the landscaping.  The site is surrounded by oak-forested hillsides and reflects the incredible natural beauty of Mendocino County. In the middle of the vineyard is an irrigation pond fringed with cattails, which hosts an abundance of frogs, birds, insects and other wildlife.  Garden themes will bridge the exquisite natural landscape with the art of winemaking and culinary pairings.  The garden will include edible foodscapes as well as plantings of drought-tolerant California natives that are host plants for pollinators, beneficial insects, and Monarch butterflies.

At this winter’s Biodynamic Farm and Garden meeting I learned about Jail Industries, a two-acre nursery in Sonoma County that produces a wide variety of ornamental nursery stock including many California natives.  It is the perfect plant resource for our new project.  The nursery is part of Sonoma County Jail’s vocational program and provides low cost trees to cities, counties, schools and public agencies.  In addition, it has provided over 50 schools with free vegetable starts and seeds.  Their nursery is open to the general public by appointment and during their three plant-sales each year. All of the revenue goes toward funding the Agriculture Vocational Education Program for the inmates.

We are looking forward to working with this innovative project, which aims to help individuals gain practical life skills, as well as helping to preserve and protect the environment.  To find out more go to: scoe.org/jailindustries

We look forward to having you visit our new winery in 2018!

Time Posted: Jan 30, 2017 at 4:28 PM
Derek Dahlen
 
January 30, 2017 | Derek Dahlen

Vineyard Update, Winter 2017 – Frost Protection

Frosty grapevinesFrosty organic grapevines.

As the dead of winter passes and visions of spring are in the air, life in the vineyards is once again returning.  Our annual pruning work is well underway and we are now in the process of preparing for the eminent bud-break of the vines.  With the emergence of fresh green growth on the vines we must have all of our frost protection systems in place.

Spring frost is one of the primary challenges to growing winegrapes on the North Coast of California.  From the first signs of emergence from dormancy in early March until the last frosts of May, Mendocino County grape growers must be on call to protect their precious vines from freezing temperatures due to sudden cold snaps.  There are a number of agricultural measures which can allow for lower temperatures to occur without damaging vines.  These include late pruning to delay bud-break, mowing down cover crops early, increasing cold air drainage out of the vineyard and restricting cold air movement into the vineyard.

Unfortunately, these passive measures are often not enough to eliminate frost damage in colder areas.  For the majority of vineyards in Mendocino County the only effective solution to control spring frost events is to use water.  The concept behind this technique is based on the latent heat released as water moves from a liquid to a solid state.  By continuously applying water to the vineyard, the water changing from a liquid to a solid state on the vines creates heat and protects the vegetation from frost damage, but only down to 25°F

In a standard-sized overhead sprinkler system, we need to supply 50 gallons of water per minute per acre.  These rotating head sprinklers wet the entire vineyard canopy and floor.  They typically rotate every 30-60 seconds, and 30 sprinklers are needed per acre regardless of the vine spacing or trellis type. Fortunately, we have adequate water supplies in the spring to deliver the quantities of water needed to protect our vineyards during frost events.

Frosty grape leaves on the groundFrosty grape leaves on the ground.

The infrastructure necessary to provide the water required to protect our 330 acres of vineyards in Redwood Valley and Potter Valley is quite extensive.  We have ponds, pumps, filters, valves, weather stations, thermometers, miles of plumbing and hundreds of sprinkler heads.  Not to mention the manpower required to operate and maintain these systems.

On any given night from March through May we have 4 people on call if temperatures drop below 35°F.  At this temperature, alarms go off and frost patrol begins.  We have to monitor 13 different sites and be prepared to pump water to run sprinklers if any site drops below 33°F.

Frost patrol and protection can be one the most grueling tasks of the year.  There are many sleepless nights and stressful mornings for those working frost patrol as there is so much on the line.  One night of vines getting burned by frost can ruin the entire crop for more than one vintage.

On the other hand, frost has a number of benefits for grapevines.  Cold temperatures slow down the spread of powdery mildew and inhibit many insect pests.  Without frost, vines would never go dormant and vine pests and diseases would run rampant.  The addition of extra water in the Spring can also help boost vine growth and increase productivity.  Without frost patrol, grape growers would have a lot less spring work and a lot less to complain about.  Keeping busy definitely helps to keep us out of trouble.

Frost on grape budSnow on grape bud.

Tamara Frey
 
January 30, 2017 | Tamara Frey

Bali Chili

Bali Chili

During a visit to Bali I got inspired by the local dishes.  I loved their use of gingers – aromatic ginger, turmeric root, galangal and the fresh ginger root that we are more familiar with.  Balinese also use a nut called a candlenut which adds texture and flavor.  It’s similar to a macadamia nut.  They use the leafy part of celery, which most people don’t, and which I’ve always liked because it’s so flavorful.  Their chilies are red and quite hot and are served on the side in thin rounds.  I used green serrano chilies for this recipe.  Habaneros would be great also, if you like it hot.  The Balinese also use an incredibly aromatic Indonesian lemon basil, called kemangi, and the pungent kaffir lime.  Use them if you can get some.  Also use lemon grass (cut it into one inch chunks and simmer it in the chili) if you can get it fresh.  If you make this dish, please let us know your thoughts!

It pairs well with Frey Organic Pinot Grigio.

Ingredients
2 cups dried cannellini beans (any white bean can be used)
Cover with water a few inches above the beans, to allow for expansion, and let sit overnight. Drain and add water to cover the beans. Bring to a boil and simmer until beans are soft and creamy.

3 deboned skinned chicken thighs. Cut into ½ inch cubes. (Can instead use tofu, or any meat or fish)
2 heaping cups green beans – cut into ½ inch chunks.
2 heaping cups ½ inch chunks of peeled, seeded fresh pumpkin (or winter squash or sweet potatoes)
1 thinly sliced large fresh serrano pepper (or jalapeno or habanero chili)
5 large shallots – peeled and minced
1 heaping tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
5 cloves minced garlic
4 tablespoons chopped celery leaves (some stalk can be with it as well)
6 tablespoons finely chopped macadamia nuts
2 cans coconut milk
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 ½ cups thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
Fresh lime wedges for – garnish
Thinly sliced fresh chili slices – for garnish.

Step one
Do this step a day in advance.  In a pot cover the dried cannellini beans with water a few inches above the beans (to allow for expansion) and let sit overnight.  Then drain and add water to cover the beans.  Bring to a boil and simmer until beans are soft and creamy.  (You can just cook the beans on the same day, but it is better to soak them overnight first.)

Step two
Meanwhile, prep all other ingredients and place in bowls ready to cook.

Step three
When the beans are done, add the coconut milk, pumpkin pieces, cut green beans and celery leaves and simmer.

Step Four
Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil in a sauté pan and cook the chicken pieces, shallots, garlic and chile slices for a few minutes over medium heat until done.

Then add to the simmering soup and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add the slivered basil right before serving.

Serve in bowls with fresh lime wedges and chili slices on the side and each guest can squeeze in fresh lime juice to taste, along with the chilies for desired flavor.

Enjoy with a glass of Frey Organic Pinot Grigio.

Enak sekali!

Bali Chili ingredientsIngredients ready for cooking!

Bali Chili simmering in potSautéing in the pan!

Bali Chili simmeringAdding chopped basil to chili.

Molly Frey
 
January 30, 2017 | Molly Frey

Organic Farm Winter Update

Winter on the Frey Ranch has been filled with rain this year. Mendocino County seems to be experiencing a Real Winter after many years of drought; the greens in all hues are vibrantly coloring the landscape of the ranch as the fields, pastures, and hedgerows have taken in water to a full saturation point. Gratefully, the weather has been coming in stormy spurts that allow a proper level of percolation between rainy downpours, and nature's irrigation program has been nearing perfection! 

In the barnyard, extra rains mean extra worms, and the chickens have been happily foraging each day for the juiciest selections the earth promises to yield. The sheep, goats, and cows all seem to be tolerating the pouring heavens, although I believe that they are more interested in the prospects of delicious fodder in the months to come than the actual rain right now. 

I was mucking the goat pen the other day: a process which involves gathering the pee and poo-soaked straw into wheelbarrows and bringing the earthy offerings to a pile nearby where compost can commence. We try our best to keep the pens cozy, but the added weather has been better for compost than for barn hospitality I'm afraid. Because our animals get to graze in the vineyard rows at this time of year, they have lots of time to frolic and stretch out their limbs in the great outdoors. Being able to run about on the gravel roads and rocky outcroppings allows them to maintain better foot/hoof health, and they love finding rare treats on their forays. Madrone leaves have been a particular favorite as of late. It's a true thing of beauty to be out in the vineyards, watching the goats find edible bites here and there, browsing between wild greens and cover crop legume sprouts.

Speaking of the goats, our herd has expanded for the winter. Some dear friends have brought their small herd of pack goats to play with ours for the winter months while they vacation in warmer climes. For those that haven't heard of pack goats, the concept is not unlike using horses, burros, or donkeys to carry the load for walking expeditions. The goats are usually given a modest pack to carry along on hikes; they dine on whatever is fresh and available, so there is no need to bring along food for them. In fact, the ladies offer up fresh milk to the humans, making them ideal companions on the trail. Because our friends’ pack goats like to spend their summers in the Trinity Alps of California's northern wilderness, and are used to lots of exercise, they have been fitting right into our daily walking adventures on the land. Both of their female goats and two of our goats are pregnant and due to kid this spring, when the sun has returned to longer, warmer days. 

Until then, we're finding the best dry days to muck out the barn and savor extra-long walks among the dormant grape vines. Away in a manger, life smells of summer-cured alfalfa and grass hay. There might even be a tomten tucked up in the rafters, singing songs of sunnier days to the ruminating barnyard.  

Time Posted: Jan 30, 2017 at 1:50 PM
Estelle Clifton
 
January 30, 2017 | Estelle Clifton

Mariposa Creek Restoration Project

Mariposa Creek is enchanting. It has long been a sanctuary for hikers, and a cool refuge from the summer’s heat.  With its low temperatures and persistent summer flow, Mariposa Creek currently hosts a high quality habitat for resident steelhead trout, a salmon species that has been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and it is likely that it once provided refuge to vibrant Coho salmon as well.  Russian River steelhead runs in California once ranked as the third largest, behind the Klamath and Sacramento rivers. During the 1930’s and on through the 1950’s, the Russian River was renowned as one of the world’s finest steelhead rivers, and a healthy economy thrived on fishing activity.

Mariposa Creek is a tributary of the west fork of the Russian River, and at their confluence the river’s pools can completely dry up in the summer when streamflows become subsurface below the gravel.  For young fish, access to the upper reaches of the watershed where cooler canyons are fed by spring flow is critical for their survival.  On the lower portion of Mariposa Creek, two fish passage barriers exist that inhibit migratory fish from accessing upstream habitat to spawn and rear.  The first barrier exists at the Tomki Road culvert that was rebuilt in 1972, and the second barrier, which is only three quarters of a mile upstream, is a reservoir spillway.  The reservoir was constructed in the 1960’s, and at the time was specifically designed to provide fish passage. Unfortunately, stream conditions changed over time and the depth of the channel became greater, creating a total barrier to fish.

Jonathan Frey, Alex Strassel (DOT), Josh Fuller (NMFS), Dan Wilson (NMFS, and Anna Halligan (TU) at Mariposa Park

Frey Vineyards and their neighbor Cathy Monroe of the Easterbrook Ranch have been enthusiastic proponents of restoring steelhead to Mariposa Creek.  This neighborhood-led, voluntary restoration effort began in 2001 and now is gaining momentum due to the collaborative efforts of several interested stakeholders. Thanks to the efforts of Frey Vineyards and Cathy Monroe, and with the help of their agent, North Coast Resource Management, Trout Unlimited, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the County of Mendocino, a high priority salmon stream has entered into a preliminary design phase for exploring fisheries restoration options.  Funding for this preliminary design phase of the project was provided by the NOAA Habitat Blueprint Program which is a strategic program that aims to integrate habitat conservation into existing agency programs by focusing efforts on priority areas, like the Russian River watershed.  The program intends to increase the effectiveness of NOAA efforts to improve habitat conditions for fisheries along with other economic, cultural, and environmental benefits our society needs and enjoys. The preliminary designs will help the stakeholders explore the available options for restoration for both the on-stream reservoir and the county road culvert on Mariposa Creek. The project stakeholders will evaluate each option and then collaboratively select the best alternative that will achieve multiple benefits for fish, wildlife, and the surrounding community. Future phases of the project will most likely rely on securing grant funds in order to complete engineered designs and eventually construction activities.

 

Time Posted: Jan 30, 2017 at 1:11 PM