by Charles Fredy
Many consumers like to drink organic wines, but find the selection extremely limited. This is understandably so. Being kind to the environment and still making wine delicious can be both challenging and costly. I have discussed this subject in other columns, but thought it was important to highlight a producer who is making amazing wine and doing it responsibly. Hall Wines in Napa Valley offers an inspiring example of incredible quality, organic farming and environmental accountability that many wineries only dream of.
Craig and Kathryn Hall share a collaborative vision for a sustainable future and for showcasing wines of incredible complexity, quality and structure. Their Hall Wines employs healthy, organic practices both in the vineyards and in the winery. They use natural products for weed and pest control, and they plant cover crops among the vines to minimize erosion and sedimentation of local waterways—a fish-friendly measure.
The design of their new St. Helena Winery enabled Hall Wines to qualify for the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. LEED certification is a huge investment, and while it doesn’t automatically equate to better wine, it does speak to a concern for quality and a commitment to sustaining the place you occupy.
Kathryn Hall has served as a United States ambassador to Austria, where she helped spread the word about American wine. As the owner of California’s first Gold LEED-certified winery, she was honored at a fundraising dinner at the Halekulani Hotel in Waikiki. Hall wines were paired with delectable dishes by star chefs Alan Wong, Roy Yamaguchi and Vikram Garg, who presented an “Evening of Sustainable Cuisine” to benefit the Culinary Institute of the Pacific.
It was well-deserved recognition for a winery that has already earned Wine Enthusiast’s praise, garnering the #1 Cellar Selection, Wine of the Year. Hall was also featured on the cover of Wine Spectator’s November 15th edition.
Because it takes extra labor and time to produce organic wines, they are generally priced higher than comparable nonorganic wines. Hall’s ultra-premium wines are not inexpensive, but in my opinion, their organic farming enhances the fruit flavors and produces higher-quality wine. Try their reasonably priced sauvignon blanc. And if you’re like me, you’ll find their supple, balanced cabernets, single-vineyard and flagship wines well worth the price.
Stellar selections to seek out from Hall and other organically farmed wines:
Hall Wine, Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, 2008
Arrowood Vineyards, Sonoma County, Chardonnay, 2007
Harford Court, Land’s Edge, Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, 2006
Hall Wine, Merlot, Napa Valley, 2005
Hall Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2005
K. Hall, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2006