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Press Coverage

Mark Neal Celebrates 40 Years of Organic Grape Growing

by Rachel Witte

“One of the exciting things about CCOF’s 50th birthday is that many of our long-time members are celebrating milestone birthdays, too! One of those members is Mark Neal, from Neal Family Vineyards. Next year will mark 40 years of Mark farming organic grapes at the prestigious Martha’s Vineyard in Napa, California.

Mark has certainly built an organic legacy in Napa over the last 40 years. Since 1984, he’s converted more than 1,000 acres of Napa’s vineyards to organic production. Mark is known in the wine industry for his expertise in organic and biodynamic vineyard management, both for his own winery Neal Family Vineyards, as well as an impressive rolodex of famous, ‘big name’ wineries in Napa Valley.”

After all these years, Mark’s work has accumulated to what Deborah Parker Wong, national co-editor of the Slow Wine Guide, says is a “watershed moment” for “slow wineries” becoming certified organic. “We’ve been keeping a very close eye on the sustainable choices wineries are making and organic is the certification with the most agency in the ecosystem of Slow Wine,” Parker Wong explains.

Your Guide To Napa’s Best-Kept Wine Secrets
by Forbes Contributor Katie Sweeney

“With more than 400 wineries crammed into a narrow 30-by-5-mile valley, NapaCalifornia’s premier wine region, is filled with undiscovered treasures. The best wineries are often local favorites with a unique story behind the label.

Here are six hidden gems for sensational wine, gourmet cuisine and memorable experiences…

The original pioneers of sustainability

“Organic,” “biodynamic” and “sustainable” are well-worn buzzwords among many wineries in the valley, but no producer can claim to be more eco-friendly than Neal Family Vineyards. Mark Neal grew up among the vines of Rutherford, and his father, Jack, started a vineyard management company (Jack Neal and Son Vineyard Management) specializing in organic operations in 1968. The vineyards Neal oversees today were certified organic in 1984, long before sustainability became de rigueur.

Today, Neal Family Vineyards is the only winery in Napa Valley that’s Regenerative Organic Certified, the highest level of certification, and only one of five wineries in the world to hold this classification. Try the wines at a tour and tasting experience where you’ll learn all about the farming techniques used to produce the savory, earthy cabernet sauvignons.”

The World In a Wineglass

by Executive Wine Editor, Food & Wine
Ray Isle

“‘The moral of that story was drilled into me from day one:  Know your farmer. Otherwise, who the hell knows what you’re eating. Or drinking.’

Jack Neal, Mark’s father, was a medic on the front lines in the Korean War. He and his wife, Athene, moved to Napa Valley in the early 1960s, then started a vineyard management company in 1968, which today Mark Neal owns and runs. It’s not a small operation, and it’s particularly significant in that Neal farms more organic acreage than anyone else in the Valley-some 840 acres for eighty different clients, more than 700 of which are also biodynamic.”

 

 

Men’s Journal

Neal Family Celebrates Love By Releasing New Wines
From The One & Only Collection

“Family-owned and operated Neal Family Vineyards is a boutique winery that specializes in crafting Cabernet Sauvignon from meticulously farmed, 100% biodynamic, and 100% estate vineyards on Neal Family’s signature Howell Mountain and Rutherford Dust properties in the Napa Valley. Founded by Napa Valley biodynamics pioneer Mark Neal, Neal Family Vineyards believes great wines come from great ingredients that only organic and biodynamic vineyards can produce.”

 

American Vineyard Magazine

Napa Valley’s Mark Neal Invests in
Soil Health, Longevity

“The Neals have farmed organic methods long before the certifications were created.”

Summer’s end is an ideal time to gather with friends for a relaxing cookout before fall activities and the impending holiday season kick into gear. Sure, you’ll still be lighting the grill for the next several months, but scheduling becomes more difficult as everyone is going in different directions. Guests love to be greeted with a glass of bubbles, and surprising them with an elegant choice from northern Italy is a great way to show off how savvy you are. A creamy Sonoma Chardonnay is always a crowd pleaser, especially alongside salads, cheese, or poultry.

No barbecue is complete without plenty of red wine on hand. In addition to some bold Napa Cabs to pair with well-marbled cuts of beef, offer your guests something off the beaten track like Syrah, whose fruit and spice flavors are always a good match with ribs or brisket, Merlot, which has softer tannins than Cabernet, or Tempranillo from Spain, which straddles pairing possibilities from pork to lamb to beef. Here are nine great choices to get the party started.

Robb Report

9 Stellar Wines to Drink at Your Labor Day Barbecue

Organic and biodynamic farmer Mark Neal began making wine in 1966 at his parents Rutherford farm and in 1998 he built Neal Family Vineyards with his wife Laura. Together they produce organic wines from their estate-certified organic vineyards in Howell Mountain and Rutherford. Their 2019 Howell Mountain Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is ruby colored with aromas of dried lavender, blackberry, and cocoa powder. It is soft on entry with flavors of black plum, dried Mediterranean herbs, and milk chocolate. Drink now thru 2033.

The Grapevine Magazine

Neal Family Vineyards Leads the Way as The First Regenerative Organic Certificated® Winery in Napa Valley

The Neal Family Vineyards in Napa Valley have always been known as prestigious, organically farmed vineyards. And now, going back to their beginnings over 50 years ago, they’ve shown the world what can be accomplished through mindful, organic farming methods and practices. Recently named the first Regenerative Organic Certified® vineyard in Napa Valley, the Neal Family Vineyard Estates becomes one of only five Regenerative Organic Certified® vineyard estates in the world as recognized by the Regenerative Organic Alliance.

 Market Watch
December 15, 2022
Weekend Sip
12 bottles of booze — from bourbon to bubbly —
perfect for every type of drinker on your holiday gift list

The green bottle

By “green,” we mean eco-minded. And that is certainly the case with the wines from Neal Family Vineyards, a Napa Valley producer that adheres to both biodynamic and organic standards. Indeed, founder Mark Neal is often credited as a pioneer in the industry — he went organic in 1984, long before other California winemakers started embracing this approach. The Neal Family’s wines run the gamut — both in terms of price and varietals. A good gift-minded offering is the Howell Mountain Collection ($299) with three bottles of different vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Forbes
November 2022
How Neal Family Vineyards Achieved 1st Regenerative Organic Certification In Napa Valley
— Liz Thach

Mark Neal, founder and owner of Neal Family Vineyards, credits his Greek grandmother for influencing his organic farming philosophy. Growing up on the island of Crete, her family didn’t just grow grapes, but also farmed vegetables, fruit, olives, and raised animals, as part of a naturally biodiverse farming system. These same practices were adopted by his parents when they moved to Napa Valley in 1968 to purchase land and start an organic farm.

“They farmed tomatoes, grapes, prunes, walnuts and raised cattle,” stated Neal, in an online interview. “Everyone in Napa Valley farmed diverse crops back then. It was a way to hedge our bets as farmers, because you never knew what Mother Nature would bring.”

Now that same focus on biodiversity is back in style, prompted not only by changing climate conditions, but by consumers who are becoming more concerned with sustainable and organically farmed products.

Food & Wine Magazine
September 2022
The Fall Wine Issue

Bottle Service: Everything’s Gone Green:
Great organic, biodynamic, and regeneratively farmed wines⁠


“Mark Neal manages hundreds of acres of vineyard land throughout Napa Valley and farms his own vineyard (certified organic) both on Howell Mountain and in Rutherford. This cassis-rich offers both valley-floor richness and mountain-vineyard structure; look also for his nectarine-scented 2021 Vermentino.”

— Ray Isle⁠

September 2022
“Until you look closely, Mark Neal’s vineyard looks more or less like any other in Rutherford, the prestigious growing region in the geographic center of Napa Valley. But walk into a row of his vines, which are shrouded in lush, green canopies this time of year, and it starts to look stranger. Where there should be one grapevine, there are two: a succession of red grape clusters hanging over a tier of white ones.⁠

Neal’s approach is ‘definitely something new for Napa,’ said S. Kaan Kurtural, viticulture specialist at UC Davis.”⁠

⁠— Esther Mobley of San Francisco Chronicle⁠
CBS SAN FRANCISCO
September 2022
Artful Living
September 2022

Vintner Mark Neal considers himself a farmer first and foremost. He hails from one of the pioneering families of Napa Valley, farming organically alongside his parents on their Rutherford property, where they grew grapes and walnuts. Young Mark started driving a tractor at age 8, and by the time he was 14, he was making garage wine with his father. Today, he operates the largest organic and biodynamic farming company in the valley, managing 720 acres of vineyards for many of the region’s cult-favorite varietals.

Neal Family also makes just a few thousand cases of 100% estate-grown biodynamic and regenerative organic wines from family property in the Rutherford and Howell Mountain AVAs. The brand is best known for its cabernet sauvignon, but the citrusy vermentino is delightfully elegant as well. Personalized tastings are by appointment only, including tours of the vineyards, caves and winery.

MARIN Magazine

April 2021
April 2020
Blending Heritage and Distinction
on Howell Mountain

“Since 1997, Neal Vineyards has crafted striking, organic wines from its Rutherford and Howell Mountain vineyards. Yet the winery has also remained a small, dynamic family business, the kind that could be found everywhere in the early days of Napa Valley.”

Tasting Notes & Tech Sheets


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