Driving along Main Street in St. Helena, Long Meadow Ranch provides a one-stop-shop. There is a coffee stand serving breakfast and lunch, a restaurant serving lunch and dinner, a tasting room, a general store, a farmer’s market, and an event space. And, there is more than the eye can see. There are vineyards, heirloom vegetables, olive trees, and highland cattle.
Long Meadow Ranch is a family-owned business focused on sustainability and health, supporting the community, doing good, and telling the truth. Ted and Laddie Hall bought
their first property, the 650-acre Mayacamas Estate, in 1989. Their sons, Chris and Timmy Hall, as children, planted the first organic vegetable garden on the property and spent their weekends caring for the vegetables and eventually selling them at a booth at the St Helena Farmer’s Market.
Chris later studied geology and fire science at the University of Colorado and then returned to Napa where he drives the development of Long Meadow Ranch’s diversified activities from wine to farming to hospitality. And, it was his experience with the organic vegetable garden that inspired his philosophy of responsible farming and building the vertically integrated agricultural business that Long Meadow Ranch is today.
The first property purchased by the Hall family in 1989, the 650-acre estate is located in the mountains above the Rutherford Bench. There are 16-acres planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese and Merlot. There is an olive grove that is the oldest in California. The property is also home to turkeys, baby chickens, horses, and highland bulls. The first wine produced from the property was in 1993 and it was made by winemaker Cathy Corison who was the winemaker at Long Meadow Ranch until 2003. Ashely Heisey has been the head winemaker since 2004.
Visit the Mayacamas Estate for a tasting overlooking the vineyard. Tours depart daily from the Farmstead and cost $75 per person. The visit includes transportation to the Estate, a wine tasting as well as house-cured charcuterie, cheese, and olives.
The Rutherford Estate was the next property added to the portfolio. Once a riverbed, the estate is located on a mineral-rich benchland. On this property, there are 74-acres planted to Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. There are five acres of produce, including 500 varieties of organic heirloom fruits and vegetables. There is also a flock of chickens in a state-of-the-art coop and a colony of honeybees.
Anderson Valley Estate
In 2015, the Hall family purchased 145 acres in Philo, 69 of which are planted to vines, in the deep end of the Anderson Valley. Formerly an apple-growing region, the proximity to the Pacific Ocean and the cool breezes make it an ideal place for Burgundian varieties.
Drive north to the Anderson Valley to visit the Estate tasting room and taste the cool-climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Rose, and Pinot Gris. Multiple wine flights, as well as an organic olive oil tasting and wines by the glass and bottle, are offered. The tasting room is open Thursday through Monday and reservations are not required but recommended.
Three miles northeast of Tomales Bay is the 500-acre cattle ranch where the Hall family is raising Scottish Highland cattle. They impregnate, raise and finish the animals on-site, but they do not slaughter the animals on the property.
The Farmstead located on Main Street in St Helena is where everything comes together. The General Store, located in the historic 1874 home of Logan Ives, is where visitors can purchase jams, bbq sauce, salts, wines, and more, all produced in an on-site kitchen and all certified organic. Wine flights of the Long Meadow wines from the three estate vineyards can be enjoyed at the tasting bar, as well as olive oil flights and whiskey flights.
For a more intimate experience, the chef’s table, a private room within the General Store, offers wine and food pairing tastings during the day for $70 and Chef’s tasting menus for dinner for $170.
Next to the General Store is the Café offering coffee, fresh juices, house-made pastries, salad, and sandwiches for breakfast and lunch. The restaurant at Farmstead is housed in a former nursery barn. It was opened in 2010 and serves modern American cuisine in a contemporary rustic setting. And, the beef served in the restaurant, as well as sold at the farmer’s market, is from the ranch. In addition, events are hosted at The Farmstead, including the Blue Grass series and a Guest Chef Series with live fire cooking.
The Hall family has the vision of being “a family-owned producer and purveyor of world-class wine and food that is economically successful and socially responsible using diversified, sustainable and organic farming methods.” And, they are achieving it.
In addition to the production of wine, vegetables, and meats, they focus on full-circle farming, utilize solar power, and make their own fertilizers. They also support the local community with land trusts which protect the agricultural land. At the restaurant they offer corkage for the community and only charge $5 corkage in the restaurant, donating the fees to a different beneficiary each month.
To date, they have donated more than $200,000 to local community-based nonprofit organizations. And the most important foundation they have started is the Timothy Hall Foundation, founded in memory of their son Timothy Hall. Honoring his love of agriculture and music, the foundation has been dedicated to supporting innovative, cost-effective K-12 school programs in arts and sciences.
About the author of Sustainable Napa Valley;
Allison Levine is the owner of Please The Palate, a boutique marketing, and event-planning agency. Allison is Level 3 WSET Certified from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, so she knows about way more than just wine tasting Santa Barbara. Allison is certified as an Italian Wine Specialist from the North American Sommelier Association and has a Master's Degree in International Communications with a focus on cross-cultural training from the American University School of International Service. As a freelance writer, she contributes to numerous publications while eating and drinking her way around the world.
Allison also writes for the Napa Valley Register and other outlets, in addition to her blog at Please The Palate; Twitter and Instagram @plsthepalate; Facebook: Please The Palate