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In 2006 Hawley Vineyards became certified organic by California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) after three years of following organic practices. Not only do we believe in the philosophy of sustainable agriculture but are convinced that organic grapes make better wine. Crop and berry size are reduced, virtually eliminating the need for crop thinning. We feel that organic growing reveals a more authentic expression of terroir since the farmer is not providing the vines with exotic nutrients.

Since we began growing our grapes organically, we have noticed a shift in the ecosystem of the vineyard. Wild strawberries grow beneath the vines, lizards scurry around eating any would-be pests, and a family of red shouldered hawks has moved into an old tree above the vineyard; everything is more balanced. John keeps tabs on all the hawks in the area. As a young man he was a falconer and kept many hawks, and it remains a passion of his.

John Hawley on the tractor John Hawley with bottle and falcon Solar panels on property
Organic growing demands a number of additional vineyard practices. Soil nutrients are one of the most important growing factors. Organic growing fosters the development of soil microbes that assist the break down of material into rich nutrients and make them available to the vines. Other things we do in the vineyard include composting with the spent skins and stems left over after harvest. We maintain cover crops to help replenish the nitrogen levels in the soil; mowing the rows and weed-eating beneath the vines to control weeds. Pests have never been a problem for our vineyards and even less so now. The vineyard is full of lizards, praying mantis and other natural pest controllers.

The choice to farm organically came from our desire for sustainability in the place we live. John and Dana raised their sons on the vineyard. They drink the same water as the vines, the same water that flows in the creeks where their kids play, the same water that flows into Dry Creek where the salmon spawn. This is our home and we want it to remain beautiful for generations to come.