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Frey Vineyards

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Frey Organic Wine Blog

Eliza Frey
 
January 30, 2013 | Eliza Frey

Spicy Baja Seafood Stew

This is a hearty, warm soup for cold winter nights!

Spicy Baja Seafood Stew
Spicy Baja Seafood Stew. Pairs great with many wines!

It's a very easy stew to make with minimal prep and cook time, about 30 minutes.   A wine friendly dish!  The fish and spice make it a great match for a young chardonnay, rosé or aromatic white wine, while the tomato and herb components pair well with a light to medium red wine like our organic Pinot Noir or Zinfandel.

Serves four to six.

Ingredients:
Olive Oil
1 medium yellow onion
1 large potato
1 green or yellow bell pepper
1 jalapeno pepper
1 quart fish stock, canned or homemade
½ cup Frey Organic Pinot Noir or Biodynamic Chardonnay
1 quart diced tomatoes with sauce
¼ cup tomato paste
6 large sustainably harvested prawns
1 ½ pound fillet of cod
Optional clams or mussels
Few pinches dried oregano
Few pinches dried basil
1 pinch red pepper flakes
Three cloves minced or pressed garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish with sliced avocado, lime wedge and cilantro

Directions:
Put the oil into a large thick-bottom soup pot with the onions and simmer until the onions are translucent, about 5 min. 
Chop sweet peppers into small cubes and jalapeno into small pieces.  You can remove the seeds from the jalapeno if you want the soup to be mild, or leave a few in if you want to turn up the heat. 
Cut the potato into large cubes. 
Add the chopped peppers and potatoes and cook until the potatoes are barely tender. 
Add the fish stock , tomatoes, tomato paste and wine and cook until potatoes are tender.
While the potatoes are cooking, shell the prawns and cut the fish into large chunks.
Once potatoes are tender, add prawns, fish, oregano, basil, pepper flakes and garlic.  Cook for 5-10 minutes until the prawns turn pink and the fish is flaky and opaque.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with sliced avocado, lime wedge and cilantro.
Serve with crusty toasted bread with olive oil, or quesadilla and green salad with citrus dressing.
Enjoy with your favorite Frey Organic red or white wine, as this dish goes well with both!  We recommend Frey Organic Pinot Noir, Biodynamic Chardonnay or Zinfandel.

Katrina Frey
 
January 28, 2013 | Katrina Frey

Sacred Agriculture – Part 1

When I heard the words “Sacred Agriculture,” the first thing that popped into my head was that I was raised by a mother who believed in fairies.  I’d like to tell you how those fairies led me to Biodynamics and eventually to the beautiful land in Mendocino County in Northern California that was to become Frey Vineyards. My mother discovered her fairies in the woods and brooks of Vermont, but managed to find them again in the perennial garden she created in the backyard of our little house in Holland, MI. 

Katrina Frey's with dad, mom, sister.

I would spend hours nose down in the lilies of the valley under the lilac bush daydreaming about the hidden intricate world of the fairies and sometimes spotting evidence; a broken stem or little flower caps strewn upon the ground were signs of a night of wild revels.

But eventually I grew up, went to a Quaker College, became a Vietnam War activist and a hippie and moved to California, and generally got distracted from the fairies. Still, I managed to spend parts of each summer working with my grandfather in his perennial garden.  He would chat with his garden and ask it what it wanted him to do next. I came to see the dozens of beds as a responsive and living being.  By now I was seriously considering a career in the nursery business, so when I heard about a Biodynamic Agriculture conference at High Mowing Waldorf School in New Hampshire, I decided to check it out. I was thunderstruck with the beauty of a display of sensitive crystallization images. 

Sensitive crystalization detail
Sensitive crystallization provides the viewer with a visual preview of the unique fingerprint possessed by a given substance.

The deep, hidden, exquisite intricate order thrust me back into the land of fairy and I vowed to learn more about Biodynamics.

Returning to California, I apprenticed with Alan Chadwick.  Fellow apprentices were Jonathan Frey, who was to become my husband, and Chris Tebbutt of Filigreen Farm in nearby Anderson Valley

Alan Chadwick
Alan Chadwick raspberry pruning demonstration.

Chadwick saw man’s central occupation as a gardener and farmer, always giving back to the land selflessly and being rewarded with the glorious abundance of nature. He taught us the French Intensive Biodynamic method, lectured on Rudolf Steiner, introduced me to the Revolutionibus, the rhythms of the cosmos, the Archangels and the elemental beings.  My fairies were back.

After a year and a half of apprenticeship, Jonathan and I got married and moved to the Frey Ranch in Mendocino County and started to lay the groundwork for Frey Vineyards.  Today we have grown from 100 to 1000 acres. 

Frey Vineyards from above
Frey Vineyards in Redwood Valley, California

We farm 140 of the 1000 acres with the vineyards meeting the edges of the forest.  At Frey Vineyards we delight in the biodiversity of our land, whether it be the native wildlife in our forestland, the cover crops replenishing our soil, or the multi-talented four generations of the Frey Family who live here.  Each of them has their unique experience of SACRED AGRICULTURE.

Members of the Frey Family
Clockwise from top left: Luke Frey; Johnny Frey; Karla, Rob & Leora Gitlin; Matthew Frey.

Luke Frey, my brother-in-law, has made it his job to produce all of our Biodynamic preparations and to care for our farm animals with great devotion. He is a master prep maker, studying with Hugh Courtney at the Josephine Porter Institute and completing Dennis Klokec’s Consciousness Studies Program.

We have a lot of hard-core gardeners on the ranch.  My son Johnny, seen here double digging our garlic bed, is a devotee of Yogananda, who saw God in all mankind and taught man to seek for meaningful work and then perform it in a sprit of gratitude and service.

Karla Frey’s garden anchors her to the Jewish cycles of celebrations.  The Sukkat festival reminds us that God will provide for man’s needs and man in turn must be grateful.

Brother-in-law Matthew married Sandra from Bolivia and has embraced the Inca philosophy of no separation between man and nature. Matthew’s garden is his sense of connection.  He says,  “If I’m late at planting it, it calls me.  I save my seeds and somehow they know me the next year.  Every time I add a garden vegetable to my meal, it becomes a part of me and keeps my body and mind and spirit balanced.”

As you can see, we have a beautiful rainbow of philosophies about SACRED AGRICULTURE.  At the same time Frey Vineyards is a big business selling 92,000 cases of wine across North America, Europe and Asia.  So how do we communicate our agricultural practices to our customers?

Stay tuned for the second part of Katrina’s article on Sacred Agriculture in our Spring Newsletter.

Molly Frey
 
January 27, 2013 | Molly Frey

Giving wild honeybees a chance

Surrounding our estate organic and biodynamic vineyards are woodlands and forests that harbor wildlife and sustain local biodiversity, including the wild honeybee. This vital pollinating insect is suffering worldwide from colony collapse disorder, widely believed due to it's extreme sensitivity to modern pollutants, including agricultural pesticides, that weaken their immune system. So last year when we spotted a hive in need of help right at the edge of our Petite Sirah vineyard, we quickly gave them a hand.


The hive was located inside this fallen fir tree.

The bees had their home high up in a fir tree, inside the rotted and hollow interior. A windstorm snapped the tree halfway up and the hive fell. Much of it shattered on impact with crushed honeycombs seeping across the splintered trunk. We were tempted to eat some of the honey, but this food was vital to the bees if they were to survive the rest of the winter, so it was hands off the sweet ambrosia. Luke Frey quickly brought an empty beehive box and put the surviving humming mass of bees in it along with every drop of their precious honey. Then he placed it on top of the fallen tree right next to the old hive.


Here's a short video with some live footage of these beautiful wild honeybees.

It was soon apparent the queen did not survive the fall so a frame with two capped queen cells were put in. We crossed our fingers that the orphaned honeybees would take to their new home and raise a new queen. A few weeks later they were still there! Following the coronation the hive raised a new brood into the spring and summer. But then they were gone! We suspect that they swarmed and made a new hive in an old wine barrel by our Merlot vineyard. It's also possible the colony perished.


Wild honeybees and their shattered, exposed hive.


The location of the honeybee's new hive is circled, next to the Frey Biodynamic Petite Sirah vineyard.

Nicole Paisley Martensen
 
October 31, 2012 | Nicole Paisley Martensen

Wine & Mushroom Pairing: Portobello Mushroom Roulade with Frey 2010 Organic Cabernet Sauvignon

When the autumn nights start to turn chilly, we love cooking savory mushroom dishes to pair with our red wines. Red wine and mushrooms are a unique marriage of complex flavors; some wild mushrooms, like black trumpet mushrooms, can bring out the earthy notes of a delicate Pinot Noir, while some fuller-bodies reds can bring out the meatiness of other mushrooms, like porcini and portobellos.

Portobello Mushroom Roulade with Frey Organic Cab

This Portobello Roulade recipe comes from Carmelita, a wonderful vegetarian restaurant in Seattle, Washington.  We paired it with our Frey 2010 Organic Cabernet Sauvignon and found that the flavors in both complimented each other beautifully (we conveniently used the Cabernet for the one cup of wine called for in the recipe).  This recipe has many steps, so plan on making the preparation part of your feast, but the results are stunning and well worth your efforts for a special occasion dinner.  This dish is vegan, and can be gluten-free if made without the panko.

Serves 6
Here's what you need:

For the Roulade
6 Portobello mushrooms, roasted
Salt and pepper, to taste
9 asparagus shoots, roasted
2 onions, chopped and caramelized
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup Frey Dessertage Port or Frey Late Harvest Zinfandel
2 red bell peppers, roasted and julienned

For the Potato Cakes
6 Yellow Finn potatoes, quartered and boiled
2 yams, peeled, chopped, and boiled
1 onion, diced
1 leek (white only), diced
2 Tbsp minced garlic
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
1 cup panko or bread crumbs

For the Mushroom Demi-Glace
Gills and stems of Portobellos
1 onion, chopped
8 whole cloves garlic
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 Tbsp thyme, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup Frey red wine (we used the Frey 2010 Organic Cabernet Sauvignon)
3 cups water
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste

Here's what you do:

For the Roulade
1)Remove gills and stems from portobellos. Place them on an oiled sheet tray along with the asparagus and  salt and pepper and put into a 400-degree F oven for 15 minutes. Remove and cool.

Portobellos on the pan!

2) To caramelize onions, place chopped onions in a sauté pan with 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat and cook until translucent (about 8-10 minutes).

3) Deglaze with 1/2 cup Frey Dessertage or Late Harvest Zinfandel, lower heat, and cook until tender and sweet, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Cool.

[Portobellos!]
4) Place cooled mushrooms on a clean working surface, stem side down, and with a sharp knife, butterfly each mushroom, opening them flesh side up. Leave 1/2 inch at the end, and open the mushroom like a book. To fill each mushroom, place 2 tablespoons of caramelized onions at the center, followed by roasted peppers and asparagus. Roll the mushrooms around the filling ingredients. Each should look like a fat cigar. Tie each roulade with a thin strand of the leek tops.

Roulade tied up!

For the Potato Cakes
1) After boiling potatoes and yams separately, sauté diced onions and leek with 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat for approximately 3 minutes, then add minced garlic and cook until soft. Season with salt and pepper.

2) Drain potatoes and yams, combine, and add onion mixture and panko. Mash ingredients together.  The potato mixture should be rustic, not mashed potatoes. Season as desired. Remove from mixing bowl and form into six 1” thick cakes.

For the Mushroom Demi-Glace

1) Place mushroom stem and gills in a baking pan along with onions, garlic, carrots, and herbs. Sprinkle with oil. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees F.

2) Remove foil, add 1 cup of red wine and continue to roast another 15 minutes. Remove from oven, reserve wine, and place solid ingredients in a blender with water (do this in several batches). Blend well, until you achieve a watery paste. Pass blended mixture through a fine sieve. Finally, put strained sauce in a pan with reserved red wine and reduce to a syrup-like consistency. Season sauce well.

Final Preparation and Serving
1) Place roulades and potato cakes on a sheet tray and place in a 350-degree F oven for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, warm mushroom demi-glace. Place a ladle of mushroom demi-glace in the center of each plate. When potato cakes are hot, place one on top of the sauce on each plate and place a roulade on top of each cake.

Enjoy!

(Recipe & images copyrighted © Frey Vineyards, 2013. All right reserved.)

Katrina Frey
 
October 31, 2012 | Katrina Frey

Cycles in the Vineyard: Fall Harvest

Seasons of the vineyard

The harvest of 2012 promises to be one of exceptional quality here at Frey Vineyards for our organic and Biodynamic® vineyards.  After two challenging years, 2010 and 2011, which were marked with late soggy springs and early wet falls, we finally have a picture perfect year.

During early June when the grapes were flowering, the weather was just right: moderate temperatures, clear skies and no wind.  If it is windy during the 10 day flowering period the delicate blossoms can “shatter,” which means they fall off and the clumps are tattered.  We’ve had a hot, but not too hot, dry summer that our organic grapes have loved.  Biodynamic sprays have protected the vines and there was very little, if any, mildew problems here in Mendocino County.

Harvest began in early October with the picking of Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.  In addition to our permanent vineyard crew, we’ve had the help of fifteen extra people to work in the cellar and the vineyards.  Everyone worked really hard to get the grapes in with the most amount of care.  In contrast to the previous two years, all our varieties will be picked before the first rains, except for the Cabernet, which is known for its weather resistance and thick skins that can hold up to moisture.  All of our 2012 fruit is of beautiful quality: perfect sugars, great acidity,  and no mold.  The wines of 2012 will show slightly higher alcohol levels than the past two vintages because sugars are higher when the grapes are allowed to come to full maturation.

In the next two weeks in the vineyards we’ll plant this year’s winter grains, as well as our traditional cover crops of legumes that add nitrogen to the soil.  Our work in the vineyard is always looking ahead, but we relish the thought of enjoying this memorable 2012 organic vintage!

Frey Vineyards
 
October 30, 2012 | Frey Vineyards

Vote Yes on Prop 37! It’s our Right to Know!

Attention California Voters –
Vote Yes on Prop 37! It’s our Right to Know! 
Endorse! Volunteer! Donate! www.carighttoknow.org

Did you know that 80-85% of the processed foods you buy in America contain Genetically Engineered ingredients?  Did you know that 61 other countries require the labeling of Genetically Engineered ingredients?

On November 6th, 2012 California voters will go to the polls for Proposition 37, the California Right to Know Act, which will require labeling of Genetically Engineered ingredients on food labels.  This landmark initiative will confirm Californians’ Right to Know what they are eating and it will pave the way for ingredient labeling across the nation. 

Studies show that 90% of Americans across party lines favor labeling of GMO foods.  That is why No on Prop 37 is spending 1 million dollars a day to run misleading ads on all the main stream media and pushing blatant misinformation on California voters.  Due to huge contributions from billion dollar companies Prop 37 now has the potential to be the most funded initiative in the history of the state.

The No on Prop 37 Coalition is using scare tactics and false information to convince voters that prop 37 will raise food prices and provide exemptions for special interests.  They are lying!  The Organic Consumers association has a great write up that clearly debunks the lies being spewed by the No on 37 campaign, you can view it here.

Frey Vineyards has partnered with the Institute for Responsible Technology to sponsor a day of free online viewing of the film Genetic Roulette. This is an excellent film that showcases the lack of oversight provided by the FDA when approving GE foods and provides convincing evidence about why labeling is needed. Please watch it and encourage others to do the same! You can download the film here.
The viewing will be available until October 31, 2012.

Proposition 37 is a common sense initiative that gives consumers access to information about the food they eat.  Despite being approved for human consumption by the FDA, Genetically Engineered foods have never been subject to long term studies proving their safety.  Proposition 37 is the first chance that America has had to choose whether or not to eat GE foods.

Here at Frey Vineyards, we are endorsing Prop 37 because we believe that billion dollar corporations should not be allowed bypass federal regulations and expose the public to unknown health risks. The FDA has failed us and introduced GE foods into the American food supply without proper safety testing. It is now up to us to demand labeling of the foods we eat!
For a full list of endorsers you can visit the Yes on 37 website.

It is time for America and California to join the 61 other countries that require GMO labeling!  We have the opportunity to make this groundbreaking change for our Nation; lets make our voices heard on November 6th!  Whether you live in California or elsewhere, please consider offering support by endorsing the campaign, donating funds to keep ads running or volunteering for a slot on the Right to Know Phone Bank, their goal is to call 1 million voters in the state before election day.

Frey Vineyards
 
October 30, 2012 | Frey Vineyards

New Release: Frey Organic Agriculturist for Whole Foods

We created Organic Agriculturist for Whole Foods customers (later to be available to all stores) and we’re proud to report that Whole Foods has named it one of their Top Ten Picks for Holiday 2012!

Whole Foods Top Ten

Organic Agriculturist is the first in a proprietary line for Whole Foods and is a delicious blend of Carignan, Merlot, and Syrah grapes. These traditional Rhone and Bordeaux varietals are processed without added sugars, acids, or preservatives, creating a fruit-forward California-grown red wine.  Our overall pursuit with Organic Agriculturist was to blend an exceptionally food-friendly wine. A spicy, aromatic nose gives way to damson plum and plush berry tones on the palate. The firm structure and grippy tannins of the Carignan and Syrah provide a well-balanced backbone for savory roasted meats, while the softness of the Merlot informs a delicate touch that would compliment vegetarian cuisine. Aged with a touch of French oak, the wine has a lingering cedary finish along with a hint of allspice that makes this a perfect holiday choice.

The Organic Agriculturist label was designed by our wine club director, Nicole Paisley Martensen.  In creating the look, Nicole looked to vintage paper goods and an updated nostalgia for an agrarian lifestyle.  "Frey Ranch is a unique wrinkle in time, and we wanted to translate the cyclical nature of the hard work involved in caring for the land, and the bounty and enjoyment it provides," she states.

Organic Agriculturist will be available in many Whole Foods stores nationwide starting November 1st.  We’ll also be offering it to wine club members only as a limited release in the upcoming Holiday Wine Club Shipment.  It pairs well with spice-crusted rack of lamb, caramelized shallots and roasted root vegetables, or a fennel and blood-orange salad.

Molly Frey
 
October 11, 2012 | Molly Frey

Wine Sensory Garden

What is a wine sensory garden? The following is the work of Shannon Jasie during her summer internship at Frey Vineyards.

"Tasting wine is a full-body experience. Wherever you taste wine, the colors and smells of the tasting area, as well as your mood and state of mind, influence how a wine tastes. Wine sensory gardens deepen the sensory experience by incorporating sight and touch. When tasting wine in a garden, the aroma is enjoyed by the nose, and the taste and texture by the mouth. Upon entering the space, you are surrounded by the color and scent of the garden and the plants whose flavors are used to describe the particular varietal. This enhances your tasting experience and compliments the flavor and aroma of the wine."

How to do a wine sensory garden tasting:

While you sip a glass of Frey wine, take a walk through the garden. As you meander through the herb
and flowerbeds, pick a sprig, leaf, or petal from the herbs and flowers whose aromas and flavors will compliment the wine. As you taste each herb, sip your wine and savor the new flavors that are exposed through the pairing.

Try our suggested pairings of Frey wine with garden herbs and edible flowers.

White Varietals

Chardonnay:
Anise, Thyme, Sage, Honey, Tarragon, Lavender, Squash, Blossoms, Lemon Verbena Violets.

Gewurztraminer: Rose Petals, Mint, Lavender, Rosemary, Lemon Verbena, Honey, Nasturtium, Rose, Geranium, Jasmine Blossoms, Cornflower.

Sauvignon Blanc: Lavender, Tarragon, Rosemary, Cilantro, Parsley, Sorrel, Lovage, Dill, Hay & Green Grass, Lemon Verbena.

Natural White: Tarragon, Marjoram, Thyme, Chevril.

Flower
Photo by Molly Frey

Red Varietals

Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot: Sage, Rosemary, Oregano, Chocolate Mint, Chives, Nasturtium, Dill, Bee Balm, Pansy, Snapdragons Chrysanthemum.

Pinot Noir: Violets, Squash Blossoms, Fennel, Sweet Basil, Oregano, Chocolate Mint, Bee Balm, Pansy.

Petite Sirah: Chives, Rosemary, Oregano, Lavender, Sage.

Zinfandel & Syrah: Rose Petals, Lavender, Sage, Basil, Oregano, Nasturtium, Calendula, Marigold.

Natural Red: Basil, Thyme, Sage, Marigold, Calendula.

Sangiovese: Rose Petals, Anise, Basil, Fennel, Sage, Oregano, Pansy, Marjoram.

Bee on a flower
Photo by Molly Frey

Time Posted: Oct 11, 2012 at 5:29 PM
Molly Frey
 
August 21, 2012 | Molly Frey

Warre style beehive

Summer is certainly the time that bees seem most at home in the world, flying all about the garden, buzzing throughout the warmth of the season's days, and kissing all the flowering blossoms that need the bee magic to produce.

On the Frey farm we have been experimenting with several different styles of creative bee hive designs. The hive that I've been tending and observing the most this past year is a Warre style hive that my woodworking neighbor Kevin designed and built. The hive currently drips with honeybees, coming and going from their floral pursuits (see images below). It's built in the top bar style with multiple pieces of parallel wood spanning the top of each hive-body box. Unique to this model is that the hive-body is built in the form of a hexagon, to honor the bees own sacred geometric building. Kevin also built the hive completely without the use of metal to respect the bees' keen sensitivity to vibrations in their home. This particular model is on the roof of my bedroom, to protect it from unwanted visitors, such as bears, who have been known to go out of their way to taste the farm honey! On certain days, if I sit quietly on my bed, I can hear the bees buzzing and vibrating through the walls!

I've seen the hive swarm twice this year, each time swirling in elaborate lemniscate patterns, up higher and higher until they landed on nearby redwoods: too high for me to reach safely. I hoped these brave convoys made new homes successfully in the surrounding woods. We harvested a small amount of honey recently, which was a deep rich golden/bronze color and tasted of the Spring flora. As the summer winds down, the bees will travel far and wide to seek out late blooms to help flush out their sweet stores for the rest of the year, when forage becomes less and less available. But, for now, the bees are a buzz!


Warre style honeybee hive.


Honeybees taking off from the beehiveHoneybee launch pad!


View inside the beehiveTop of hive-box body.

Frey Vineyards
 
June 7, 2012 | Frey Vineyards

"In Love with Bees" – Event Announcement

"In Love with Bees," a day of hands-on exploration into the science and soul of honey beekeeping is happening Saturday, June 30th from 9am-6pm at John Woolley Ranch, 11650 Westside Road, in Potter Valley, California.

$20 admission per person will allow participants to explore the following topics:
Creating a diverse garden where honeybees can thrive,
Hands-on hive construction with mud,
The relationship between flowers and bees,
Honeybee hedges and other plantings,
Placement of Hives
Invited speakers include:
Michael Thiele of the Melissa Gardens and Gaia Bees,
David Basile of Rudolph Steiner College
and there will be a special screening of "The Bien"

Sponsored by Frey Vineyards and the Waldorf School of Mendocino County. For RSVP and info contact Luke Frey 707 485 8684. Water and herbal teas provided. Please bring a hat, water, and a bag lunch