Preston Farm and Winery is a family-operated, organic and biodynamic property in Healdsburg’s Dry Creek Valley. Our 125 acres are nestled between a meandering salmon-spawning stream and a sleepy stretch of former wagon trail leading to town. Under 45 years of stewardship by our family, the land has evolved from an emphasis on wine alone to diversified crops including vineyards, vegetables, fruit and olive trees, grain, and pastured livestock.
Our estate winery features a tasting room, farm store, and bakery with a wood-fired oven. Estate-pressed olive oil and cured olives, sourdough loaves, pickles, and produce from the farm are available for purchase along with the wines. Visitors are encouraged to picnic in the gardens and to enjoy the farm property.
I learned to grow grapes and make wine at UC Davis in the early 70s. But my true education came at the knees of my elders and neighbors, those who came up in the farming world with bib overalls, a hefty skepticism, tireless curiosity, and endless creativity. Our 40-year dalliance with a 125 acre farm in Dry Creek Valley has led us from grapes and wine only to a dervish of diversity: now add olives, stone fruit, apples, vegetables, nuts, grains, pasture, hedgerows, sheep, pigs, chickens. Plus oil, bread, kraut and pickles. We do it organically with machines and biodynamically with muscle, the old way.
I live on the side of a dead-end road in Dry Creek Valley near Healdsburg. A place where stinging nettles grow unbidden along the ruffian waters, the same place where my husband Lou and I began an organic farm and winery many years ago. My blood runs from Italian miners in a California ghost town, who foraged spring greens for ravioli, tossed insults across the creek and buried wine bottles for luck. I am an artist, and the aesthetic and culinary mother of our farm.
Land is timeless, its intrinsic value an expression of natural systems and processes. The human community touches the land too, with a dynamic of give and take for the sustained enjoyment of its riches and inspirations. Our family and business is dedicated to the protection and enhancement of this dynamic through the practice of enlightened farming, the honoring of tradition, and the sharing of agrarian experience.
Our progression has been guided by the paradigms of happy chaos, serendipity and unintended consequences. Starting with viticultural mentorship from a guy with a long beard and a dog, to the planting of Syrah because it sounded like Petite Sirah, to the pressing of apple juice that reminded me of my grandmother, our wine and farm story is a random walk. Some would say our evolution has been purposeful and astute. Others might chalk it up to dumb luck. Susan and I would say it’s just been fun.