(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.
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.
#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!
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 showing off their favorite vino!
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.
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.
Frey Organic Wine wins the People’s Choice Award for Best Organic Red and White Wine at the 2009 All Things Organic Show!
Thank you to all who voted for our 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2007 Chardonnay.
Hosted by the Organic Trade Association, the 2009 All Things Organic Show took place in Chicago at McCormick Place on June 17th and 18th, 2009. Attendees participated in the largest Trade Show in the United States dedicated to organic products and the well being of the organic industry here and abroad. Speakers included Phil Lempart, the Supermarket Guru and Kathleen Merrigan, USDA Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. Thanks again to all of those who participated in the award and cast your vote!
Derek, Eliza, & Dale at the 2009 All Things Organic.
Over the course of history, all favorable grape varieties have been selected and cloned from wild vines.To reproduce a desirable grape, new plants are made from cuttings. All established grape varietals grown today were cloned from individual seedlings that people favored centuries ago.
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay share a parent grape, Gouais blanc, which is believed to have originated in Croatia. Seldom grown today, it is an important ancestor of many French and German grape varieties. Pinot Noir has been cultivated since at least Roman times and is believed to be only 1 or 2 generations removed from its wild ancestors in northeastern France or southwestern Germany.
Pinot Noir is one of the parent varieties of Chardonnay, which originated in the Burgundy region of France, from 700 to 1,700 years ago. Our 2008 Organic Chardonnay white wine is the perfect balance of fruity aromas and light French oak and pairs well with grilled fresh veggies, chicken and fish. It also tastes great mixed with a little sparkling water and ice cubes next to a plate of cheese and fruit – a favorite after-work snack for our office staff.
We source our top quality organic & biodynamic Chardonnay grapes from family-owned organic vineyards as well as from expert grape growers of the Ukiah and Redwood Valleys. The 2008 organic vintage combines the rich flavors of these two terriors. Our long established relationship with these growers, many whose families have been farming in our area for multiple generations, ensure excellent wines year after year.
Long prized in Europe by the upper classes for their superior quality, both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay arrived in California in the mid 1800’s. Traditionally grown in cool areas similar to Burgundy, both are now widely planted due to their popularity and adaptability to different growing regions. Today California boasts the largest acreage of both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the United States, with a variety of styles to mirror our diverse landscapes and microclimates.
We hope you enjoy our versions of these two amazing wines, crafted with care from 100% organic fruits, with no sulfites, preservatives or other additives.
Frey Organic Chardonnay Vineyard, Potter Valley, Mendocino County, California.
Now and then we'll post interesting news for you from the world of organic wine and organic agriculture. The following is from CCOF Magazine, Spring 2009 Issue:
"The Pesticide Action Network-Europe conducted a study of pesticide residues in European wine and found that on average a conventional bottle of wine contains four pesticides (one bottle in the study contained ten detected residues, while all bottles contained at least one). In comparison, the organic wines tested contained almost no residues (one residue was detected in one bottle). Grapes are one of the most contaminated crops in Europe and elsewhere, and the problem is growing in the wine industry as many farmers opt for synthetic pesticides. These pesticides are not fully removed in the winemaking process, as this study and a 14 year study conducted by the French Ministry of Agriculture have both shown. Organic wines are virtually pesticide free, as organic farming requires alternative pest control methods."
Alan Greene, M.D., here with Katrina Frey at Expo West Earlier this month, is the pediatrician at the Stanford School of Medicine and a board member of the Organic Center. He promotes the benefits of organic food for a healthier future for our children and also enjoys an occasional glass of Frey Organic Wine.
The Organic Center generates peer reviewed scientific studies that verify the benefits of organic farming.
The Organic Center held their VIP dinner at Expo West where they announced their 2009 campaign to promote and research the huge capacities of organic soils to sequester carbon and reverse global warming. Frey Vineyards provided wine for the dinner.