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Taking Great Vineyards, Making Great Wine, and Selling it for Under $20 a Bottle

Posted on June 16, 2015

SONOMA, California (June 16, 2015)—Ned Hill is the owner of La Prenda Vineyards Management in Sonoma County. Matt Stornetta is his operations manager. La Prenda is the most progressive vineyard management company in the Sonoma Valley, farming estate properties for Parmelee-Hill, Rams Gate, Schug, Nicholson Ranch, Hanna, Roche, Bennett Valley Cellars, Patz & Hall as well as numerous independent growers such as Des Nudos, Fichtenberg, Pickberry, Alta Ridge and Wildcat Mountain to comprise 900 acres of land in Sonoma County. For the first time, Ned and Matt are releasing their own wines from these famous vineyards. The wines are called District 3 and the wines are a bargain. They are offering three wines: a classic Pinot Noir, a Red Wine Blend and an unoaked, Chablis-style Chardonnay. All three wines will retail for under $20.

“I just love farming,” exclaims Hill. “I started working in the vineyards with my Dad when I was nine and I was driving tractors by the time I turned 12. Alongside dad we farmed the Durell Ranch, that's where I grew up and cut my teeth. We worked closely with the likes of Kistler. There is nothing I’d rather do than farm grapes here in Sonoma County.”

After working for years as a grape farmer with his Dad, Steve Hill, and earning the “Outstanding Young Farmer” award in 2005, Ned started La Prenda Vineyard Management in 2008 with his wife Erika. Their list of clients reads like a who’s who of Sonoma County growers; Hi-Vista Ranch, Alta Ridge, Desnudos, Wildcat Mountain and Fichtenberg Vineyard. It was a time of great volatility in the vineyard business with grape prices careening wildly up and down for several years and through some difficult harvests especially in 2010 and 2011.

“We realized that we had to do more for our grower clients than just manage their vineyards,” explained Hill. “Aside from helping them produce prime winemaking grapes, we could provide some value added service by helping them sell their grapes. We started by helping our growers take unsold portions of their vineyards to make the wine and then sell it on the bulk market. By 2013, that service got us to thinking of a new way to work with our growers.”

Their concept was to enter into a unique partnership with their vineyard clients. They would farm the grapes, using the unique expressions given by each site to produce fruit that would make wonderful wine. They would control the farm conditions and the crop size. Then they would find a talented winemaker, secure a winery facility and make and market the wine themselves. Finally, they would sell the wine at reasonable prices while offering great quality.

“It all starts with the vineyard,” said Matt Stornetta. “We knew we had access to some of the finest grapes in Sonoma County. We had the opportunity of controlling the whole process from farming to making the wine. It was a classic example of the “farm to table” dynamic, but instead of produce, we were applying the principles to wine.”

Ned and Matt hired Alex Beloz (previously at Macrostie Winery) to be their consulting winemaker. They leased a facility in nearby Isleton to produce their wine. Even keeping the wine prices low, they were able to provide their vineyard clients with good prices for their grapes. They hope the Sonoma Collection District 3 wines will create a solid market and generate long-term viability for their clients. “If it all works,” Ned said, “We will be able to secure our future in Sonoma County as farmers.”

Sonoma Collection, District 3 wines offer Pinot Noir, Red Wine and Chardonnay. The wines are produced by Ned Hill and Matt Stornetta. Suggested retail for all wines is under $20. For further information about Sonoma Collection District 3 wines, contact Matt Stornetta at (707) 815-8771 or matt@laprendavineyards.com

Located in the heart of Sonoma’s wine country, La Prenda Vineyards Management has been blessed with the opportunity of being stewards to the land. Their management style is derived from generations of experience combined with a passion for excellence. As local farmers they pride ourselves on land conservation, fruit quality and forming lasting relationships with our clients.

The wineries they work with range from mountainside boutiques to nationally acknowledged brands. This rapid changing wine industry leaves little room for error which is why La Prenda Vineyards Management offers an array of resources from meticulous hand work to state of the art machines including mechanical leafers and mechanical harvesters.

Getting the job done is merely a fraction of the equation. Getting the job done right is the La Prenda equation.

Website: http://www.sonomawinegrowers.com/

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