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Agriculture In the Classroom Press Release

Incredible Tour at Colinas Farming Company Vineyards and Olive Grove

SACRAMENTO, CA—In February, the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom hosted the Western Region Ag in the Classroom state directors representing Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico on a tour through Napa Valley. The group had the opportunity to visit the Colinas Farming Company operation and what an opportunity this was.
 
Colinas Farming Company currently manages 800 acres of vineyards ranging from Calistoga to the Carneros region in Napa County. The group was allowed an elite tour with Paul Jackson and Derek Cronk. Most of the group was very unfamiliar with the growing processes of these commodities in California and these two gentlemen were very knowledgeable and insightful. “Paul and Derek did a wonderful job talking to our group about growing grapes in the Rutherford region. Coming from a state with very few wine grapes I had little knowledge about growing grapes. They covered everything from irrigation, to pruning, varieties and vineyard management practices. We started the tour at the irrigation pond that is used to irrigate the surrounding vineyards and then had the opportunity to see the vines up close and learn about different pruning methods. Our group of educators had a lot of questions and Paul and Derek were very knowledgeable and were willing and able to answer them all,” said Dennis Hellwinkel, Nevada Agriculture in the Classroom.
 
 

Photo 1.  Paul Jackson, of Colinas Farming Company, (Center, with hat) discusses vineyard management practices with Ag in the Classroom participants.

The group learned about a few of the different sustainability techniques that Colinas Farming Company practices.  An example of one technique is how they use owl and blue bird boxes as a source of pest control but also to encourage bio-control and bio-diversity. Dennis continues with his amazement, “throughout the tour we learned about how the company uses sustainability practices at the farms they manage. We took a drive around the vineyards and saw how they use bird boxes to help control rodent and insect problems. I was already familiar with the owl boxes but was surprised to see smaller boxes that I later found out were used for blue birds! On our tour we also looked at the riverbank that was on the property and learned how native plants on their river bank were also used in sustainability practices.” 
 

Photo 2.  Derek Cronk, of Colinas Farming Company, (Center with hat) talks about the importance of monitoring the vineyard throughout the year. 

 

Colinas Farming Company is actively involved in the Rutherford Dust River Restoration program which the group was able to learn is a collaborative effort of both private landowners and government agencies that are working to restore the Napa River. “I was most interested in learning about the Napa River Restoration Project. I was very impressed to learn that farms were willing to work with the county on a project that will benefit the future generations of Napa residents. Paul explained the long term plans of the project and what it would do for the natural habitat and the river. The farmer's involvement in a project like this really shows that they care about the habitat on their farms and they are willing to do what it takes to preserve it,” said Judy Culbertson, California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom. 

 

Photo 3.  Paul Jackson, of Colinas Farming Company, (Front and middle) explains to Ag in the Classroom participants about the olive orchard.

 

Colinas Farming Company also manages an olive grove. The group was also able to learn about olive farming practices as well as the processing plant. They grow both Italian and Spanish varieties and Jackson and Cronk explained to the group how the different varieties are processed.

 

Photo 4.  Ag in the Classroom participants.

The California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom could not have found a better venue to visit than the Colinas Farming Company. The out-  of-state visitors were introduced to the beautiful Napa Valley while learning about the diversity of California agriculture. The leadership at Colinas Farming Company helped to make it a trip they will never forget.
 

Click here to read the wonderful letter sent to Colinas Farming Company by Judy Culbertson, Executive Director of the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom.