Long Meadow Ranch and The Land Trust of Napa County announced today the donation of a conservation easement over an 11-acre prime agricultural parcel located in Rutherford at 1790 St. Helena Highway South.
The site is a renowned location for producing high-quality Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
By creating the conservation easement, Long Meadow Ranch proprietors Ted, Laddie, and Chris Hall relinquished entitlements to build a winery and a residence on the parcel. The Halls also extinguished rights for any commercial purpose unrelated to agriculture.
The newly created easement, to be known as Long Meadow Ranch V, is the fifth major conservation easement created by Long Meadow Ranch and its affiliates. This new gift brings the total land under conservation easements created by the Halls to 395 acres.
Going forward, the location will be part of Long Meadow Ranch’s 90-acre Rutherford Estate. The estate has gained international recognition as a “grand cru” quality vineyard, which produces extraordinary Sauvignon Blanc wines as well as Cabernet Sauvignon wine. Today the grapes are used to produce Long Meadow Ranch’s estate wines and are sold to ultra-premium wine producers.
The property, which was acquired by Long Meadow Ranch and one of its affiliates in the fall of 2012, is located along Bale Slough, one of the principal tributaries to the Napa River, in the center of the Rutherford appellation.
"We are deeply committed to the preservation of agriculture in Napa County and this easement will restrict future development of this property to purely agricultural uses, which will also ensure that this portion of the valley floor in Rutherford will remain uncluttered by new residential and small winery development," said Ted Hall.
"We have relinquished rights to all further residential and commercial development − including a winery site − and have laid the groundwork for continued productive agricultural use of this land," he added.
“We are also pleased to help protect an additional section of Bale Slough, which is a major tributary to the Napa River," Laddie Hall said.
"Ironically, Bale Slough is part of the watershed that drains from our home ranch and then flows through this parcel. We can further our ambitions to return the watershed to a fish-friendly environment through our stewardship of this property,” he added.
The language of the easement provides for continued agricultural use for crops and livestock and includes provisions for soil and water conservation projects as well as for composting, solar and wind energy, and alternative fuel production.
"This is the kind of project that the Land Trust should be noted for," said Jim Verhey, a founder of Premiere Viticultural Services and a Trustee of the Land Trust of Napa County. "We at the Land Trust are committed to sustaining economically viable agriculture in the Napa Valley.
"Only with a viable agricultural economy can we preserve the open space we treasure,” he added.
Conservation easements created under this program are made with The Land Trust of Napa County as the grantee and are held in perpetuity. The Land Trust monitors compliance with the terms of the easement while land owners continue to own and to be stewards of their land.
Substantial tax advantages can accrue to donors of conservation easements, as the difference in market value between the pre-easement and post-easement property values can be deductible as a charitable contribution under the Federal and California tax code.
In addition, conservation easements can be a useful component of estate tax planning.
Long Meadow Ranch media contact: Colleen Gallagher or Nicole Englehardt at Glodow Nead Communications, (415) 394-650