After taking a leading role in the implementation of certified organic and biodynamic agricultural practices, farming Napa Valley vineyards using organic practices since 1984 and currently only crushing certified organically grown grapes, we are proud to announce that the CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers) has just certified our winery as a “Certified Processor.” This achievement, effective November 2009, is the culmination of efforts on both the growing and winemaking side as we strive to produce world-class wines from our Napa Valley vineyards. We are proud to say that being organic is not limiting in any phase of the production. It is with confidence that we offer our wines as examples of the highest quality, produced from environmentally and philosophically sound practices.
Our commitment to growing organically certified grapes for Neal Family Vineyards is personal. Starting with the safety of our children who live on the winery and estate vineyard property, and extending to the welfare of the vineyard workers (many of whom have been with our company over 25 years), organic practices encourage a dynamic system that promotes the health of all beneficial organisms in and around our vineyards. Knowing that the health of our soil, the groundwater, and vertebrate and invertebrate life are working together to provide the nutrients and disease resistance necessary for healthy, flavorful fruit goes hand-in-hand with our concern for the people involved in the process.
Our winemaking philosophy is an extension of the beliefs we have in the vineyard: naturally healthy fruit produces the best examples of premium varietal wine. We have eliminated the addition of extraneous chemicals and synthetic materials into the growing cycle of the vines. This enhances the inherent and distinctive influences of vineyard terroir, producing the ultimate flavor profile of the wine. The vineyards are healthier and more resistant to disease pressures. Winemakers at over 50 wineries are delighted to see fruit delivered without the residues of synthetic materials on the grape skins or in the juice.
Once delivered to the winery crush pad, we allow the microflora from the vineyard to start the winemaking process. Grapes covered in indigenous or "wild" yeast begin the slow, flavorful conversion from syrupy sweet juice to the young wine. Our belief at this stage is that organically grown grapes have healthier and more flavorful fermentations without the addition of cultured yeasts. The resulting flavors produced during fermentation have consistently impressed both the winemaking team and our consumers.
A fundamental respect for the natural resources we are blessed with in Napa Valley has been an integral part of the Neal family legacy since the beginning. Each estate vineyard that produces fruit for the Neal Family Vineyards wine programs is also enrolled in the California Certified Organic Farmers certification program. Rooted in over four decades of organic farming history here in Napa Valley, it is increasingly important to us that we ensure the continued health and prosperity of these prized vineyard lands and the environment as a whole so that our children may continue to enjoy them into the future.