The 14 acre estate vineyards, situated within the 86 acre farm located in the Pleasant Valley Agricultural District in the El Dorado AVA, employ a regenerative organic farming system that focuses on soil health, the integration of plants, animals and biodiversity.
There is no use of chemicals, herbicides, or pesticides. Frank makes his own fertilizer from composted skins, seeds, stems, cow manure, ground quartz rock and plant life used in making biodynamic preparations and teas.
Demeter Certified Biodynamic since 2010, they began practicing organic farming in 2007.
Living and working on the land, both Frank and Teena felt a personal conviction early on to adopt this farming method which has increased the grape’s vitality, nurtured the soils, protected their own health and enabled them to steward the farm well.
Additionally, Narrow Gate wines are genuinely “hand made” with very little intervention by technology.
Frequently Asked Questions
Wise Answers from the Winemaker, Frank Hildebrand
What is Biodynamics®️?
Biodynamics®️ (also known as BD) is a farming method that strives to create a diversified, balanced farm ecosystem that enhances the farms fertility and health from within the farm itself to the greatest practical extent.
How does BD differ from organic farming?
There are 3 clear distinctions:
- BD requires a healthy integration of crops and livestock on the farm.
- BD requires a certain amount of wild and/or uncultivated land set aside to enhance the farm’s biodiversity.
- Organic certification can be applied to just one isolated part of the farm whereas BD certification requires the entire farm to be certified.
What made you decide to become Biodynamic?
When we moved to this land and began farming, our family embraced the entire farm as our backyard. We wanted to make the farm safe not just for our family but also for all of the wild animals living within it. Biodynamics doesn’t only insure we are farming responsibly and safely, but it also enriches our farms vitality and fertility for generations to come.
As a winemaker, what is the most important step in BD?
Biodynamics is more about being a farmer than a winemaker. The better job we do as farmers in the vineyard, the better quality of grapes we deliver to the winery. That makes the job of winemaking not only easier, but we make a more natural, healthy and better product in the end.
There are many myths told about the cow horn. Can you explain its real use?
The cow horn is used in 2 field spray preparations. The first is BD 500 which is cow manure packed inside the horn and buried underground through winter and dug up in spring. The horn contents is stirred in water and sprayed over the entire vineyard to stimulate soil micro-life and increase beneficial bacteria. The second is BD 501 which is ground up quartz rock into a fine powder (rich in silica) and packed in the cow horn and buried underground through the entire summer. It is dug up in autumn. It is stirred in water and sprayed as a mist over the tops of the vines in spring and fall to enhance light metabolism and stimulate photosynthesis and the formation of chlorophyll.