Fish Friendly Farming

La Prenda wins certification for wise water use

The La Prenda Vineyards Management has been certified by the California Land Stewardship Institute (CLSI) under the Fish Friendly Farming Certification Program. CLSI is a nonprofit organization dedicated to planning and implementing environmental stewardship, restoration, and enhancement programs and projects. It includes scientific studies, promotion of beneficial stewardship practices, and resources conservation activities on public and private lands and waterways. Fish Friendly Farming Certified is one of the approved programs for Sonoma County Winegrowers Sustainable Certification.

Ned Hill, the son of well-known farmer Steve Hill, started working in the vineyards alongside his dad when he was 9. He was driving tractors by age 12, and as a teenager continued working with his dad at the famous Durell Ranch. Ned earned the “Outstanding Young Farmer” award from the Sonoma County Harvest Fair in 2005.

Ned Hill

In 2008, at age 32, already with decades of experience and an unrelenting work ethic, Ned and his wife, Erika, began the La Prenda Vineyards Management Company, seeking to provide full-service vineyard management and consulting to high-end winegrowers. La Prenda now farms more than 30 estate properties including prestigious names like Parmelee-Hill, Schug, Nicholson Ranch, Hanna, Roche, Bennett Valley Cellars, Patz & Hall, Desnudos, Pickberry, Alta Ridge, and Wildcat Mountain—totaling about 500 acres.

“I just love farming,” said Hill. “I’ve been working in vineyards my whole life. I see the interaction between farming and the environment. If we don’t act responsibly now with our vineyard practices, there will be hell to pay in the future.”

Salmon and trout are considered indicator species due to their sensitivity to human-induced impacts to their environment. They are sensitive to changes in water quality, quantity, temperature, turbidity, and aquatic food webs. The decline of salmon and/or trout in a creek or river can give an early warning of decline in the overall health of the environment. By focusing on improving conditions for salmon and trout, the Fish Friendly Farming program takes a comprehensive approach to environmentally friendly land management.

“Our company has a saying,” explains Hill: “Getting the job done is merely a fraction of the equation. Getting the job done right is the La Prenda equation. A huge part of that equation must be recognizing the issues plaguing our environment and correcting them. The Fish Friendly Farming Program is a great start.”

La Prenda Vineyards Management has been in business since 2008 and farms over 30 properties in the Sonoma Valley, Carneros, Sonoma Mountain, and Bennett Valley appellations that are certified Fish Friendly Farming. They provide quality farming while increasingly incorporating mechanization in a changing farming environment. In addition, Ned Hill runs Sonoma Collection, a family-owned business featuring sustainably farmed wines honoring Sonoma Valley grape farmers. Hill’s Sonoma Collection captured a top 10 spot in Wine Business Monthly’s annual Hot Brands listing. Other labels include Fifth Hill, La Prenda, Happy Wife, and 95476.

For more information visit www.laprendavineyards.com.