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Stewardship OVER 700 ACRES OF LIFE

A canyon to care for

Sheep grazing in Palisades Canyon

In early spring, sheep “mow” our cover crop and convert it to a form of fertilizer easily absorbed by our vines.

While regenerative farming practices are central to our work in the vineyard, our commitment to stewardship does not stop at the vineyard fence. We take great care to work in harmony with our ecology and protect the natural resources, ecosystems, flora, and wildlife in the entire canyon.

Water responsible cover crop in Palisades Canyon


“Our vines will thrive if we carefully tend to the environmental health of our entire canyon.”

Responsible water management and soil health are top priorities in the vineyard. Annual applications of organic compost and cover crops of fava, vetch, peas, and oats replenish soil nutrients after harvest and promote vine vigor and fruit development. We create our own bio-char to add nutrients and water holding capacity to the soil. With years of careful management, the top layers of our soil are alive with beneficial microorganisms and earthworms.

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Owl box in the vineyard

Barn owls catch gophers and voles that might damage vine roots.

Using ecological pest management practices in place of toxic chemicals, we rely on beneficial species to maintain vineyard health. Bird boxes attract bluebirds that feed on harmful insects. Our creek-side hedge row of pollinator-friendly native plants helps manage erosion. We release helpful predatory insects to control unwanted ones.

herd of goats
Marquee, guardian llama

Outside the vineyard, our permanent herd of goats roam the canyon slopes with Marquee, their guardian llama, to keep the hillside grasses short. Their grazing reduces pressure from unwanted insects while protecting the vineyard from the threat of wildfire.

Stewardship - Intern with bees

High school summer interns tend to our beehives.

Lasting community partnerships are a pillar of our stewardship. We partner with county agencies and canyon neighbors to maintain the network of fire roads that wind their way up the canyon, opening our land to recreation while enhancing public safety. Summer interns hired through the Napa Valley Farmworkers Foundation Fields of Opportunity program help us tend our hives of honeybees, care for our animals, and build hiking trails. We host hikes for the California Native Plant Society so that the public may also enjoy our spring wildflowers.

Students from Howell Mountain Elementary School measure the speed of the water flowing in Horns Creek during a field day studying watersheds.
Juan Luis Vigil, Palisades Canyon Ranch Manager

Juan Luis Vigil, Ranch Manager

Juan Luis, together with Napa RCD staff, leads our on-site outdoor education activites.

Working closely with outdoor educators from the Napa County Resource Conservation District, we sponsor regular field days in the canyon for students, teachers and parents from local schools. The students hike, explore our canyon ecology, study our native plants and wildlife, and engage with visiting scientists. Days usually conclude with “goat time.”

Graeme MacDonald with Felicia Woytak and Steven Rasmussen in the Palisades Canyon Vineyards