Long Meadow Ranch and The Land Trust of Napa County
Announce 48-acre Agricultural Conservation Easement
January 6, 2009, St. Helena, California
Long Meadow Ranch and The Land Trust of Napa County announced today the donation of a conservation easement over a 48-acre prime agricultural parcel located in Rutherford at One Mee Lane. The historically significant site has been known as the San Mateo Ranch and is a renowned location for producing high-quality Sauvignon Blanc grapes.
By creating the conservation easement, Long Meadow Ranch proprietors Ted, Laddie, and Chris Hall relinquished entitlements to build a winery and a residence on the parcel. The Halls also extinguished rights for any commercial purpose unrelated to agriculture.
The newly created easement, to be known as Long Meadow Ranch IV, is the fourth major conservation easement created by Long Meadow Ranch and its affiliates. This new gift brings the total land under conservation easements created by the Halls to 384 acres.
Going forward, the location will be known as Long Meadow Ranch’s San Mateo Vineyard. The site has gained international recognition as a “grand cru” quality vineyard, which produces extraordinary Sauvignon Blanc wines. Wines produced from the vineyards have ranked among the top wines in the world according to the Wine Spectator and the Wall Street Journal. Today the grapes are used to produce Long Meadow Ranch’s estate Sauvignon Blanc wine and are sold to selected ultra-premium wine producers.
The property, which was acquired by Long Meadow Ranch and one of its affiliates in the fall of 2008, is located along Bale Slough, one of the principal tributaries to the Napa River, in the center of the Rutherford appellation.
"We are deeply committed to the preservation of agriculture in Napa County and this easement will restrict future development of this property to purely agricultural uses, which will also ensure that this portion of the valley floor in Rutherford will remain uncluttered by new residential and small winery development," said Ted Hall. "We have relinquished rights to all further residential and commercial development - including a winery site - and have laid the groundwork for continued productive agricultural use of this land," he added.
“We are also pleased to help protect an important section of Bale Slough, which is a major tributary to the Napa River. Ironically, Bale Slough is part of the watershed that drains our home ranch and through this acquisition we can further our ambitions to return to the watershed to a fish-friendly environment through our stewardship of this property,” said Laddie Hall.
The language of the easement provides for continued agricultural use for crops and livestock and includes provisions for soil and water conservation projects as well as for composting, solar and wind energy, and alternative fuel production.
John Hoffnagle, Executive Director of the Land Trust of Napa County, said, "This is the kind of project that the Land Trust is noted for. We are committed to sustaining economically viable agriculture in the Napa Valley. Only with a viable agricultural economy can we preserve the open space we treasure.”
Conservation easements created under this program are made with The Land Trust of Napa County as the grantee and are held in perpetuity. The Land Trust monitors compliance with the terms of the easement while land owners continue to own and to be stewards of the their land. Substantial tax advantages can accrue to donors of conservation easements as the difference in market value between the pre-easement and post-easement property values can be deductible as a charitable contribution under the Federal and California tax code.
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Long Meadow Ranch is a diversified organic farming operation with its home ranch in the western hills of the Napa Valley; vineyards in Rutherford; a production produce garden known as LMR Rutherford Gardens; and a wine, food, garden, and nursery destination in St. Helena known as Long Meadow Ranch Winery & Farmstead. In addition, Long Meadow Ranch will operate the Farmstead restaurant beginning in February 2010.
Long Meadow Ranch produces handcrafted wines and extra virgin olive oils, under the Long Meadow Ranch Winery, Ranch House Red, Prato Lungo, and Napa Valley Select labels. Beyond the Napa Valley, America's top chefs have regularly featured Long Meadow Ranch wines and olive oils, including the latest season finale of “Top Chef” which exclusively featured ingredients from Long Meadow Ranch.
Long Meadow Ranch has been known as such since 1872 when it was established as an original "patent grant" ranch signed over by President Ulysses S. Grant. Having been home to a variety of uses during its long history, Long Meadow Ranch continues to grow and prosper through Ted, Laddie and Christopher Hall's stewardship.
The Halls continue to restore and preserve Napa Valley's oldest olive groves, as well as add new plantings of olive trees and vineyards. They have also brought cattle, poultry, and vegetables back into commercial production.
"Excellence through Responsible Farming" is the motto of Long Meadow Ranch, bolstered by the belief and dedicated practices that world-class products can be produced using sustainable, organic farming methods. Long Meadow Ranch does not use herbicides or pesticides and its products are organically grown and certified by the California Certified Organic Farmers.
For more information on Long Meadow Ranch and its programs, call (707) 963-4555, or visit the website at www.longmeadowranch.com.
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The Land Trust of Napa County is a member supported, non-profit organization responsible for the protection of nearly 52,000 acres of Napa County’s finest open space and agricultural lands. It is the only organization, either public or private, whose mission is to permanently preserve open space and agricultural land in Napa County.
The Land Trust of Napa County has worked with families and business entities to protect over 21,396 acres in conservation easements since The Land Trust’s founding in 1976.
For more information on The Land Trust of Napa County and its programs, call (707) 252-3270, or visit its website at www.napalandtrust.org.