You can’t miss Long Meadow Ranch Winery & Farmstead while driving through St Helena. The bustling Farmstead Restaurant and historic Logan Ives House tasting room is popular with locals and visitors. But going behind the scenes on their “Full Circle Experience”, it’s easy to see why this winery above so many others recently won the 2013 Global Wine Capitals Award for Innovative Tourism.
Long Meadow Ranch (LMR) is not just what you see in St Helena but is also a huge 650-acre ranch that reaches high up into the Mayacama Mountains, complete with a winery on the hilltop, olive groves and press, as well as a 10-acre organic garden in Rutherford.
I love small group tours, and with only five of us huddled in the mini van we were whisked away to the Rutherford garden after a quick coffee and pastry. I soon learned that our guide, Tim Mosblech is also a chef, a “farm to table educator” and had worked his way around kitchens in restaurants in Europe. There wasn’t much Tim didn’t know about food and wine I realized as he chattered on about sustainability and picked away at the organic garden.
Organic farming is the backbone of LMR. From the vegetables, to meats, olive oil and wine, as well as utilizing their farmed products in the restaurant, the entire experience was educational and tasty. Encouraging us to taste as we walked, Tim explained that even with a tight team, they are able to produce high quality organic food to sustain their restaurant and farmer’s market. The strawberries, lettuces and apples I tried were bursting with flavor. The organic garden that seems to grow almost everything, I realized this is the stuff most chefs dream of.
After nibbling at the garden we headed up the hill to the cattle ranch. Tim explained that all 200 Scottish highland cattle are grass fed, even to the moment they are taken to be slaughtered. There is no fatting them up with corn at the last minute he stressed. I often feel guilty when eating steak about the cow’s treatment and what they are made to eat, but not here. Living at LMR must be a cow’s dream.
We ventured further on up the hill to the winery where Tim explained the winemaking process and walked us through the production facilities. The location of the winery itself is very quiet and serene, and provides a spectacular view overlooking the valley floor. The winery produces red wine only. Even before they started producing wine in 1994, they were producing olive oil and have an olive grove made of about 1,000 trees. Walking through the olive tress in the dry heat and sandy-colored grass it felt like we could have been anywhere in Tuscany.
Our tour ended with a wine and olive oil tasting back at Logan Ives House in St Helena. I had to rush off to my next tasting, and I know I missed the best part of the tour. For those of you fortunate enough to do this you will also experience a wine paired lunch and discussed again by Tim or one of their farm to table educators.
The experience at LMR goes way beyond the tasting room. Get ready to be educated and indulge in a full on Napa Valley experience.
Farmstead Restaurant uses all the products from the farm. For a fabulous, organic dinner this is THE place. Make sure you stop by for lunch or dinner. They also host concerts in the summer and have a farmer’s market several days a week.
9/10 Overall visitor experience
9/10 Knowledge of guide
9/10 Architecture and design, landscaping
9/10 Other experiences: Restaurant, Tours, Private tastings, Ranch experiences, farmer’s market
9/10 Knowledge of tasting room staff
9/10 Friendliness of staff
10/10 Signage & ease of access
9/10 Quality of the wines poured
Appointment required: No appointments are required to taste but if you want to do any of the tours they are necessary.
Address: 738 Main Street, St Helena, CA 94574
Tasting room hours: 11am-6pm daily
Tasting fee: From $10 for the wine and olive oil flights. (no appointment required)
Long Meadow Ranch offers a variety of food and wine experiences including:
- Logan Ives Pairing: Starting from $40 per person
- Farm to Table Experience: Starting from $85 per person
- Full-Circle Experience: Starting from $195 per person
- Mayacamas Estate Ranch Tour & Tasting: Starting from $85 per person
- Bear Canyon Adventure: Starting from $225 per person
Good for: Foodies and organic lovers, adventurers, aspiring chefs, animal lovers
Wines produced: Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, E.J. Church Cabernet Sauvignon, Ranch House Red.
What’s nearby: Merryvale Vineyards, Clif Family Vineyards, Gotts Roadside Tray Gourmet, V. Sattui Winery.
Appellation/District: St. Helena, Napa Valley
Contact for appointments: (707) 963-4555 x 7105 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Date of visit: July 17, 2013