Growing these grapes has not been easy. Our goals have added unique challenges but we wouldn’t have it any other way. For example, it was vital to us to carry out this project in a responsible way that would work with Catalina’s special environment.

Milestones in the process included using previously disturbed horse pastures for the vineyard blocks, and finding biodegradable products for erosion control, moisture retention and weed abatement. In order to conserve water and preserve the natural environment for native flora and fauna, our vines’ rootstock were chosen for their ability to thrive in low water conditions, and our drip irrigation system uses spring water to mitigate salinity. Our vineyard management crew employs fruit thinning and leaf removal to help combat botrytis caused by the cool, foggy growing conditions.

Ultimately, we intend to show that an agricultural project can thrive while preserving and enhancing its surroundings—in this case the rest of El Rancho Escondido and the ranch’s neighbor, the Catalina Island Conservancy.