When we purchased the ranch in 2015, there were entitlements for 295 acres of vineyard across the property. Within the first three years of stewardship, we placed over 357 acres of the ranch into deeded conservation easements, including giving back over eighty-nine acres of potential vineyard land. From a water quality standpoint, this conservation aspect was incredibly important to us: the donated acreage mostly borders Milliken Creek, a watershed that starts on, and meanders through, the ranch and feeds Milliken Reservoir.
We’ve taken our responsibility to protect this precious water source very seriously. As we strive for a balance between conservation, sustainability, and development, deciding which acres are not planted with vines has proven to be an even more important decision than which ones are.
Environmental sustainability is vital to our long-term vision for Circle R Ranch & Vineyards, and a built-in mindfulness of stewardship for our land supports every decision made on it. Among these are the best-management practices we initiated after purchasing Circle R, which led to our 2019 certification under the Fish Friendly Farming Program. As a conscientious business decision, income derived on the ranch from both the sale of grapes and livestock has been reinvested in the community. Local non-profit organizations, including Land Trust of Napa County, Napa Wildlife Rescue, Napa Valley Farmworkers Foundation, Napa Valley Grape Growers, Napa County Farm Bureau, and One Mind have been the beneficiaries of this reinvestment.
Out across the property, carefully-placed solar panel arrays (74kW) help to balance our energy needs. And of course, careful, hands-on work in the vineyards, such as precision pruning, canopy and crop management, and deficit irrigation all contribute to the highest quality fruit the land can provide.