RCD’s Huichica Creek Vineyard: A Sustainable Demonstration
First purchased by the RCD in 1991, this 21-acre parcel of land has become an example of a practical, economically viable agricultural system that is both compatible with, and a part of, sustainable natural hydrologic and biotic systems. Originally a property that was grazed, the property now supports 14 acres of vineyard and over 6 acres of restored riparian corridor and enhanced wetland areas.
An experimental streambank project by the Natural Resources Conservation service helped to restore the riparian corridor with native plants. The RCD also used native grasses, shrubs, and trees to reduce sediment inputs to the creek and enhance a wetland area thereby creating a diverse and shaded habitat for nesting birds, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals, and insects. Napa-Solano Audubon members counted 28 bird species in 2009 including six species of nesting waterfowl. A more recent addition is beneficial insect planting that was installed by students in Napa County. The property acts as a clear example of a productive vineyard that can operate within a rich and thriving environment.
- Significance: Viticulture is a fundamental part of Napa County’s economy and culture and the Huichica Creek Vineyard, in operation since 1993, demonstrates the coexistence of vineyards and wildlife habitat.
- Where: The Carneros District of Napa County
- Results: The property produces quality Chardonnay and Pinot Noir while supporting habitat for nesting birds, mammals, and beneficial insect populations.
- Funds: State Coastal Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Board, grape sales.
- Partners: Oak Knoll Farming Company, Nissen Vineyard Management, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Andy Beckstoffer, Domaine Chandon, Mondavi, Saintsbury, V. Sattui, and Joe and Frank Cabral.