Showing posts from July, 2009

Organic wine & food matching: Neal Cabernet Sauvignon & braised lamb with mint gremolata

“When I told my dad we were going to take the company organic,” says Mark Neal, “he drove over to Sonoma and came back with a tray of rotten apples and peaches and said, ‘this is how our grapes will look when you grow organic.’”

Not to be dissuaded, Mark initiated the transition of vineyards owned or managed by Jack Neal & Son – established in 1968, and at nearly 1,900 acres, the largest single vineyard management company in Napa Valley – from conventional to organic grape growing in 1984. Jack Neal passed away in 1994, but not before seeing most of their vineyards accredited by California Certified Organic Farmers (i.e. CCOF) by 1991.

Today, with over 1,800 acres of vineyards fully certified, Jack Neal & Son is by far the largest grower of organic wine grapes in Napa Valley. About 1% of these grapes go into wines bottled under the family’s own label, Neal Family Vineyards (the winery established on Howell Mountain in 2001). Otherwise, the Neals work vineyards for no less tha…