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Frei Brothers

At Frei Brothers Reserve winery, we are farmers first. And we believe that when we care for the Earth, we’re ensuring responsible stewardship and award-winning wine for generations to come. Frei Ranch is our place worth preserving. What’s yours?

PRIZES:
Each month, we’ve selected our favorites—along with National Geographic Traveler Photography Director Dan Westergen. Winners have received a slew of amazing prizes, with a grand prize that included an all-expenses paid trip to visit Frei Ranch in Sonoma County, plus a five-star stay in Yosemite National Park.

Give Back
If you plant an acre, preserve an acre
Our innovative approach to land conservation in Sonoma County, known as the “50/50 Give Back” plan, goes back many years. In fact, it’s one of our oldest traditions. Early on it was decided that for every acre of land planted in a Sonoma County vineyard, we would set aside another acre to help protect natural habitat and enhance established wildlife corridors. We think it’s not only a thoughtful choice, but also a smart one because it reduces soil erosion and improves irrigation systems, among other things. Frei Brothers Reserve continues that plan to this day. It’s nice to know that even though half of our land isn’t used to actually make anything, all of it makes a difference.
Redwood Row
Going out on a limb to expand a winery
When the Frei Brothers Winery in Sonoma had grown to the point that it needed to expand, it ran into a problem: a row of 21 mature redwood trees blocked its access to open land. The obvious answer? Cut them down. That would have been quickest and cheapest, but it also would have been heartbreaking. Instead, the winery chose to hire a specialist to excavate the trees, move them 50 yards away, and transplant them into fresh ground: one old tree at a time, 21 times. We hoped most of them would survive. Amazingly, they all did. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it, because now we not only have a better facility to craft our award-winning wines, but we still have those 21 beautiful trees.
Russian River Valley Wetlands
Trading vines for win-win-win wetlands
When Frei Brothers Reserve was replanting the vineyards in the Russian River Valley county officials asked us to preserve seven acres of wetlands. We gladly said yes, and decided to do more to help protect the adjacent Laguna de Santa Rosa, a large tributary with a unique history and rich ecosystem. We not only redeveloped the existing seven acres of wetland, but we also removed 15 acres of chardonnay vines. Once we started, we kept going. So far, the project has restored 25 acres to a seasonal wetland and upland bird habitat. This area is home to a variety of wildlife integral to the vineyard’s natural ecosystem. Today we bring visiting groups onto the vineyard for educational tours. That seven-acre opportunity more than tripled in size and has becomes a true “win-win-win” for the grapes, the land and the community.
Small Choices Ladder Up to a Big Difference
Sustainability is a series of everyday choices
Frei Brothers Reserve is doing some BIG things when it comes to sustainability, like our 50/50 Giveback program, Redwood Row and the Russian River Valley Wetland projects. However, we make choices on a daily basis, many of them smaller decisions that ladder up to some big changes.
  • Recycled Railroad Posts. Frei Brothers Reserve uses recycled rail steel for the T-posts that hold up the vine trellis; it’s high-grade steel that has been used for years and can continue to serve a purpose in our vineyard for years to come.
  • Compostable Vine Ties. Another sustainable item we use in the vineyard is twisty ties. Similar to what holds a loaf of bread in its wrapper, we use these ties to fasten canes (arms of the vine) to the trellis when pruning. Instead of going the plastic route like most vineyards, we found a supplier that offers biodegradable ties… it was an easy choice to make the switch.
  • Chipping Old Vines for Compost. When grape vines reach the end of their lifespan many wineries will literally pull and burn piles of old vines; we couldn’t see polluting the air like that. Instead, we chip our old vines and use as compost for the new vines – the chips make for great organic material and deliver nutrients right back into the soil!
  • Bird Boxes and Perches. Pest control is top-of-mind for many vintners. We went back to basics here, too, and installed bird boxes and raptor perches throughout our vineyards. Owls nest in the bird boxes while other birds of prey such as hawks and eagles will perch around the vineyard and help to control the rodent population.
Packaging Refresh
New look, new ways to uncork sustainability
In 2012, our bottles began to take on a new look and feel. But with our redesign, we also saw a chance to consider, and reconsider, the whole package. Our sleek new labels began to print on post-consumer paper stock, made using a carbon neutral process and 100 percent renewable electricity. We are also reduced our bottle weight to save over half a million pounds of glass annually and changed our corks to a type that allows us to use all the bark that is harvested from the tree, not just a portion. What’s more, we continue to “think outside the bottle” with new shipping containers printed with soy inks and made with recycled and virgin fibers. New design, new packaging, but the same core value: produce the best wine possible and take care of resources along the way. That’s the real beauty of it.

CONTEST WINNERS

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Launch The July Slideshow

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Launch The August Slideshow

Contest Winners

PathThe Grand Prize entry been announced!

Grand Prize Winner

About the Contestants

Path

Each month photo contest winners received a slew of amazing prizes!

About the Contest

About Frei Brothers Reserve

Wine

Frei Brothers Reserve is an award winning wine grown and produced in California’s beautiful Sonoma County Appellations. Frei Brothers Reserve prides itself on using sustainable practices to preserve natural resources without compromising the quality of the wine.

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Sustainability Infographic

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