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Love of the Land

Iron Horse is our business and our home. Three generations live on the property, ranging in age from 25 to 90. In our vineyards, winery, gardens, lifestyle, and community life, we strive to put back more than we take out. Anyone who comes to Iron Horse can see and feel our love of the land and how important sustainable winegrowing is to us.

We are certified sustainable. We use all recycled water in the vineyard and are engaged in a multi-year, multi-million-dollar salmon habitat restoration project with Fish and Wildlife on our section of Green Valley Creek. We are proud of our certification and, this year, joined a pilot program with California Land Stewardship Institute to study the positive role of vineyards in climate change and the benefits of agricultural practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon.

The core of our sustainability endeavors is to grow the highest quality grapes which express our unique location in Green Valley. We do this through “precision farming”, meaning all pruning, canopy management, irrigation, cover crop, and even harvesting decisions are determined on a block-by-block (and sometimes vine-by-vine) basis. We consider both the vintage at hand and the long-term needs of the land.

We use the best tools technology provides and employ the latest viticultural practices, balanced by over 45 years of experience and passion. We find that adopting new, agricultural technology allows us to accomplish increasingly more detailed handwork.

For erosion control, we seed the hills with cover crops. We have let the creek beds revert to their natural state to support integrated pest management. There are owl barns around the reservoir. We chop and mulch our grape prunings into the soil.

We irrigate and frost protect with advanced treated wastewater from neighboring Forestville, recycled water from the winery, and accumulated rainwater.

We are helping restore the coho salmon habitat on Green Valley Creek, which bisects the property, by partnering with Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District and California Department of Fish and Wildlife on a multi-phase project that will provide better access to the stream and create additional fish refuge, control bank erosion, and maintain deep pools. The family is donating low laying land to the cause. This will without a doubt leave the land better than when we arrived.

We strike a balance in our packaging and shipping.

  • We have eschewed Styrofoam and ship exclusively in recycled corrugated cardboard boxes
  • All our logo dies for branded wood boxes are heirlooms
  • We choose lighter glass bottles

We don’t stop there. In addition:

  • We recycle our glass, cardboard, household newspapers, office paper, and plastic bottles
  • Our extensive gardens are maintained with recycled water
  • We try to source our food from the estate or from local farms.

Essentially, we adhere to the UC Davis definition of sustainable farming, a holistic effort to protect and nurture the environment, our community and all-natural resources. “Sustainability rests on the principle that we must meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Therefore, stewardship of both natural and human resources is of prime importance. Stewardship of human resources includes consideration of social responsibilities such as working and living conditions of laborers, the needs of rural communities, and consumer health and safety in both present and future. Stewardship of the land and natural resources involves maintaining or enhancing this vital resource base for the long term.” – UC Davis