Preserving the Land
My family has been farming in the Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barbara County since 1962. In addition to our 150 acres of grapevines, divided between our Home and Evan’s ranches, we graze 200-300 head of grass-fed cattle, stable Arabian horses and grow flowers, alfalfa, wheat and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.
For years, we have expressed our love and respect for this bountiful land – the last pristine valley in this part of southern California – by using organic and sustainable farming practices to cultivate our crops and by preserving oak trees, conserving water and creating and maintaining riparian habitats and wildlife corridors. Recently, we had an opportunity to do more.
Not long ago, a 65-acre property close to our Home Ranch in the eastern end of the Santa Ynez Valley was targeted for development, which would have drastically altered its character and disrupted the placid, pastoral character of Santa Ynez Valley. To prevent this from happening, The Gainey Vineyard led a group of valley residents and farmers in purchasing the property, which we are donating to the Santa Ynez Valley Preserve, a conservation land trust that will maintain it in perpetuity as agricultural land. Alfalfa and three hundred different types of fruits and vegetables, including many heirloom tomato varieties, will be cultivated on 45 acres, while 20 acres will be maintained as riparian habitat.
Acquiring this land necessitated a major investment on the winery’s part, which, regrettably, will delay construction of a tasting facility and barrel aging caves at Evan’s Ranch, a project many of you have been following with interest. This was a big sacrifice for us to make, but one we felt was justified given the stakes.
All of us at Gainey Vineyard feel deeply gratified to help preserve the wonderful environment of the Santa Ynez Valley. The next time you visit the valley and soak in its gorgeous landscape, I hope you’ll join me in saying a blessing for this most beautiful and beneficent of lands.