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Frey Vineyards

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Frey Organic Wine Blog

Beba Frey
 
January 31, 2010 | Beba Frey

Bird Watching at Frey Vineyards, by Beba Frey

Pileated Woodpecker(Eighty-five year old Beba Frey of Frey Vineyards is an avid bird watcher. She recently wrote down some thoughts on her favorite pastime. The bird to the right is a Pileated Woodpecker, taken by Nathan Frey in woodlands adjacent the vineyards. In a future post we will talk about the many bird houses we have set up around the vineyards and the species of birds that use them to raise their hatchlings each year.)

I yelped. I was looking at the bird feeder outside my window. There, pecking bird seeds, was a strange (to me) large black saucy bird. For a fleeting moment I took it for a Brewer’s blackbird. But no, it had a graceful crest of black and fiery red eyes. It was early March. Then I remembered. Thirty years earlier in northern Mexico I had seen and identified the same black bird sitting proudly on a bush as the Phainopepla. It was my only sighting here in Redwood Valley. The name is as lovely as the bird. It is Greek for “shining robe,” undoubtedly referring to its sleek smooth body. Then two weeks later, for a scarce 4 minutes, two male Phainopeplas and 2 females (gray in color but with a similar crown) visited my feeder. They like mistletoe berries. I have never heard its “short soft whistle,” as described in the bird book. But I look for their return every day.

Mendocino County is the proverbial birder’s paradise. The temperate climate keeps many species here year round. Rivers, lakes, fields, woods, meadows abound with our fine feathered friends. And the mighty Pacific with its large swooping sea birds hugs the Mendocino coastline. The result is a plethora of bird species, here either all year long or passing through along the coastline or inland valleys on their way north or south. We love the loud honking of geese as they head north or south in their elongated V high in the sky. As our valley narrows on its way north it is home to the occasional pair of bald eagles which hunt unsuspecting smaller prey up and down the swiftly descending creek.

A pair of red-tailed hawks and their descendents have been in the same stretch of woods adjacent the vineyards for the last 40 years. We hear their particular series of cries, always starting on the same note and slurring downward. We wonder whether they nest in the same tree year after year or just in the same area. They consider this region home as surely as we do.

Molly Frey
 
January 26, 2010 | Molly Frey

Weathering the winter

Helping the bees has become a way of life for us at Frey Vineyards. We love our bees, and do everything we can to give them the healthy habitat they need to thrive. Biodynamic beekeeping is a symbiotic relationship between the beekeeper and the bees, who both give and receive from the exchange.

During these recent weeks of sunshine, we took a peek into the hives to see how they weathered the winter so far. Some hives sadly did not make it. We're now working to further support the bees by creating a bee-border hedgerow that will provide delicious fodder for our hives between the gardens and the vineyards: just for them!

Because the bees need everyone's help these days, I encourage you to watch "Queen of the Sun," a documentary made by Taggart Siegel (who also produced "The Real Dirt About Farmer John"), and is showing across the country right now.

Caroline Frey
 
October 27, 2009 | Caroline Frey

Grape Harvest 2009 Comes to a Close

Harvest 2009 at Frey Organic Vineyards finally came to a close when the last gondola of organic Cabernet dumped into the crusher at 10PM, October 27th. During harvest, the cellar crew (affectionately known as "cellar rats") stayed up late each night making sure all the tasty grapes got crushed and pumped to the tanks for fermentation. 2009 is proving to be good year for organic winegrapes, with nice yields and delicious fruit – a welcome change for all of Mendocino County as last year many grape growers lost a significant percentage of grapes to severe frosts in the spring. This year's quality grapes are sure to produce some fantastic wines. Harvest might be wrapped up, but organic & biodynamic winemaking continues fast and furious until the end of the year. We should be releasing the first of the 2009 vintage white wines early next year.

Organic grape harvest, 2009

Caroline Frey
 
October 26, 2009 | Caroline Frey

"Skinny Bitch" book recommends Frey Organic Wines!

"Skinny Bitch" book recommends Frey Organic Wines!#1 New York Times Bestseller Skinny Bitch recommends Frey Wine. This very popular book is a “no-nonsense guide for savvy girls who want to stop eating crap and start looking fabulous!” The book details the benefits of a vegan diet and exposes some of the dangerous hidden chemicals and cruelty in many of the foods we eat, including the dangers of sulfites and other synthetic preservatives added to wine. Give Skinny Bitch a read today!

Caroline Frey
 
October 26, 2009 | Caroline Frey

Vegan Vixens!

Frey Vineyards is proud to sponsor the Vegan Vixens! This group of gorgeous gals describe themselves as “four talented ecotainers who care about the future of our world.” They educate the public about health and fitness, animal issues, planet stewardship, and climate change – and they make it fun and exciting. Check out their website at www.veganvixens.com and remember that all Frey Organic wines are 100% vegan friendly and Vegan Vixen approved!

The Vegan Vixens!
The Vegan Vixens showing off their favorite vino!

Molly Frey
 
October 12, 2009 | Molly Frey

New sheep in the vineyards

In the last several years we have grazed sheep in the vineyards to give back to the soil, and to help create a biodynamic farm, replete with animals. This October our new flock of sheep await the end of the grape harvest to explore the tastes of the Mendocino terroir.

Small flock of new sheep.

Also, two draft horses joined our family farm this past season. Ready to pull a plow, they are enjoying eating home-made biodynamic hay, baled on our property. Fueled by a sustainable source of Horsepower, they also hope to graze in the vineyards after the harvest.

Two new large draft horses.

Draft horses in the field.

Molly Frey
 
October 12, 2009 | Molly Frey

New Apiary Addition

This past spring, Katrina and Marie added an innovative type of hive box construction to the ranch apiary. Both hives are thriving in their specially designed homes, and the engineering of the boxes allow the beekeeper to be less invasive and more observant, while fostering natural comb building tendencies of the bees. For more information on biodynamic beekeeping, and the "golden" one-room hive design, check out the Melissa Gardens of Healdsburg, California.

New beehive

In the photo above, Marie's bees dwell at the entrance to the winery, welcoming one and all to Frey Vineyards. Situated between an Asian pear tree and a small orchard of hardy lemons, the bees are across the road from the winery weigh station for grape gondolas.  The bees find themselves "helping" out with the wine grape harvest by tapping the grape juice flowing in during this season. We wonder if we can tell the grape honey from the other floral creations the bees provide throughout the year.

Frey Vineyards
 
September 18, 2009 | Frey Vineyards

Master Sommelier Lists Frey 2006 Organic Petite Sirah Among Top 5

Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson recently chose her top 5 earth-friendly wines, among them Frey Organic Petite Sirah, 2006 vintage. We have recently sold out of 2006 Organic Petite Sirah, but bottles may still be available in stores. Our current Organic Petite Sirah is from vintage 2007, and similarly delicious.

Ms. Robinson adds, "This winery has long been committed to organic farming and winemaking without added sulfites...." You may read al of it at delish.com.

Frey Vineyards
 
September 17, 2009 | Frey Vineyards

Straw Bale Gardening at Frey Winery

We haven't included this topic yet on our own website, but we're happy to let PlantWhateverBringsYouJoy.com beat us to it! Local author Kathryn Hall visited us recently to check out straw bale gardening by our resident gardener Marie.

Straw bale garden.

Eliza Frey
 
September 9, 2009 | Eliza Frey

Raw Lasagna with Bay Laurel Olive Oil and Red Wine “Syraw” Marinara

This “lasagna” is made with all raw ingredients, a perfect summertime entrée that is a great way to showcase some fresh garden veggies. The recipe seems long, but is quite simple. You will need a potato peeler and a food processor. Remember to use fresh, organic ingredients whenever possible.

Finished portion of raw organic lasagna

The lasagna can be prepared in a casserole dish up to 24 hours in advance, or can be layered to individual plates and served, as shown in the photos. Either way it is a healthy, hearty dish that will please seasoned raw foodies and novices alike. Enjoy!

Makes one 8x12 casserole or six pieces of Lasagna

Bay Laurel Olive Oil
1/2 cup extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil
3 Bay Laurel leaves

Aromatic bay leaf next to half cup of organic olive oil

Make your infused olive oil 1-2 days before preparing the lasagna for maxium extraction. Finely chop or tear the bay leaves and put them into the oil, cover and let stand at room temperature, strain before using.

“Noodles”
2 medium zucchini
12 large swiss chard leaves
2 wide heirloom tomatoes

The zucchini and chard “noodles” can be prepared up to 12 hours in advance, they are tastier if allowed to wilt for a while.

Swiss chard leaves getting crushed on cutting board by rolling glass jar

Cut each chard leaf into 2-4 pieces, depending on the size of the leaf. Using a rolling pin or glass jar, firmly roll the leaves until you see that they are bruised (you can also use a mallet or the base of a glass and pound them until bruised). Bruising the leaves softens the tissue and makes them tastier and easier to digest. After they are well-bruised, place them on a plate, sprinkling a little vinegar between each leaf, set aside.

Organic zucchini slices made with potato peeler

With a potato peeler, “slice” the zucchini across its mid section. The result is a wide and flexible “noodle”.

With a serrated knife, slice the heirloom tomato into several thin rounds.

“Syraw” Marinara
4 paste tomatoes, such as Roma, (or any other tomato, but the sauce will be more watery)
1/3 cup Frey Organic Syrah wine
1 red or green bell pepper
1 fresh cayenne pepper
1/2 cup roughly chopped onion
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
4 cloves garlic
nutritional yeast (optional)
sea salt to taste

Ingredients for the raw marinara in the cuisine art

Combine ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Nutritional yeast can be added if the sauce is too liquid.

Olive Pine Nut Paste
3/4 cup sun cured black olives
3/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup goji berries or date meat

Olives, pine nuts, and goji berries inside the cuisine art

Combine ingredients in a food processor and blend. Add a little water, wine, or oil if the mixture is too dry.

Herbed Cashew “Cheese”
1 1/2 cup soaked raw cashews
3 Tbs. Thyme
3 Tbs. Fresh parsley
3 Tbs. Fresh Basil
sea salt to taste

Cashews, basil, parsley, and thyme in the food processor, ready to be blended into a paste.

Combine ingredients in a food processor and blend. Add a little water, wine, or oil if the mixture is too dry.

Layer the noodles, marinara, olive paste and cheese, drizzling the infused olive oil between layers. Garnish with fresh basil and serve. Enjoy!

Sequence showing the layering of the lasagna.

Note: Numerous variations of this recipe are possible. Some like to make a mushroom or walnut pate instead of the olive paste. Carrots also make nice noodles if sliced with the peeler. You can use any herbs or make it spicier by adding more pepper or garlic. With fresh organic ingredients, you can’t go wrong!