Throughout the year, we give thanks to those who grow our grapes - organically.
One of these often unsung heroes - Frank Leeds, vineyard manager at Frog's Leap, got to take a bow this year, when he was voted Napa's Grower of the Year for 2013. Leeds manages Frog's Leap 130 acres of estate vineyards - and he's all for dry farming, a tradition Napa has so far forgotten to bring into the 21st century.
(All of Napa's wines from the 1860s to the 1970, including all the international award-winners that established its world class reputation, were grown without irrigation.)
At the time, I didn't know about this lovely tribute video to Leeds, which is a pleasure to share with you here.
As a side note, in 2012, the Napa Grower of the Year award went to Pat Garvey, vineyard manager and proprietor at Flora Springs, where he converted 360 of the estate 650 acres of vineyards in Napa to organic certification.
The 2009 winner, Andy Hoxsey of the Pelissa family, is Napa's largest organic grower with 635 acres of certified vineyards in Oakville and Yountville.
So in the last 5 years, 3 out of the 5 Growers of the Year (voted on by fellow Napa grape growers only) have been among the valley's largest organic growers. May it continue.