Hedges Family Estate
Today is Day 11 of our 12 Days of Wine Celebration! This year, we are focusing on Discovering Wines for the Future. These are wineries and vineyards that are doing the work, in their own way, to be sure we have a long, healthy future on our planet in which to enjoy wine!
These vineyards are farming the soil, creating healthy environments with biodynamic and regenerative methods. This generates biodiversity, sequesters carbon, and, in turn, makes delicious wine.
Many of these vineyards and wineries will be on the West Coast of the US, but we’ve included a few from Italy and one from Argentina. There are many more out there, and we encourage you to seek them out! But we will get you started with a few of our favorites!
Grab a glass and celebrate with us!
(Scroll to the bottom for our video!)
Hedges Family Estate & Sarah Hedges Goedhart
This is a family business. Tom and Marie Hedges began this winery and vineyard, but much of the work has now fallen to their children. Their son, Christophe, is the General Manager, and their daughter, Sarah Hedges Goedhart, is the head winemaker.
Sarah and her brother are passionate about caring for this land and the planet. Sarah got hooked on wine when she was going to school in Santa Barbara. She worked in a tasting room there, managed to do a harvest, and then found herself at Preston, an organic farm and winery in Healdsburg.
She and her husband then headed back to Washington to work with her brother and parents at the family winery. She worked on the garden, helped with hosting guests, and then worked as the Assistant Winemaker to her Uncle before taking over as winemaker when he retired in 2015.
Red Mountain in Washington’s Yakima Valley
The soul of this winery is in the Red Mountain AVA of Washington State. Sitting on the eastern end of the Yakima Valley, this little AVA is making some of the most sought-after wines in the state.
Tom’s roots were in this area, but he traveled the world in the produce industry and met Marie, who was from Champagne. They began a wine shipping business, and eventually, an opportunity came to purchase land here on Red Mountain before the world knew how wonderful this place was. They broke ground on the Chateau in 1995.
Why are the wines of Hedges Family Estate wines for the future?
“Why wouldn’t you be?” was Christophe’s answer when I asked him why they were biodynamic. For him, this is a no-brainer. This is about ethics.
Why would you not farm in the best way possible to leave the planet better for future generations? Why would you not farm in a manner that feeds the earth and the plants that are feeding you, or in this case, making delicious wine?
How are they making the future better?
They have a beautiful organic garden with produce they use in their restaurant. Sarah told me about the incredible biodiversity of bugs that they have in this garden. More than vegetables, they have herbs and edible flowers. It’s Sarah’s project, but her mother also works with her in the garden. Beyond that, they work with local farmers to incorporate more local foods and build community. Any excess produce is donated to the local food bank.
They are using an integrated pest management system. This past year, they brought in lacewing eggs that they set out via drone, which helped control the leaf hopper population. They do pest scouting weekly, checking to see if and when they have a problem. They create their program around those checks in real time instead of just spraying on a calendar, as many conventional vineyards do.
They are also looking into Regenerative Organic Certification. It takes time. They are the only Biodynamic vineyard in this part of Washington, so they are learning how to use these methods in this climate and environment. There was no one to hand down or share that information. Biodynamics is meant to be a closed system, so in that way, it needs to cater to the specifics of each farm.
They raise chickens in their “Hennery” and they are composting and adding cover crops. Now, they are really ready to dig into how that is affecting their soil. What does their microbiome look like here? They are ready to start testing and seeing where they can improve.
Sarah and her vineyard manager, Kayla, will be working on a West Coast biodynamic manual that incorporates native plants in their area rather than relying on preparations grown elsewhere and shipped in. They have contacted the native plant society and will investigate the different local plants that might be used in preparations.
They also work with a local company on a glass recycling project, recycling their own bottles and providing a place for the community to bring glass for recycling.
The Wines of Hedges Family Estate
They offer a variety of Estate wines and Cuvées. While Red Mountain is known for its Cabernet Sauvignon, I encourage you to pick up a bottle of their Descendants Liegeois Dupont Syrah. This wine comes from their Les Gosses vineyard. Or perhaps the Le Haute Cuvée, their top-of-the-line blend, which is primarily Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a wine that will age tremendously well.
Need something a bit lighter? Their DLD Le Rosé is a blend of the Rhône varieties Syrah, Mourvedre, Counoise, and Grenache and is delicious and light.
You can find more on their website
We’ve written about them before and interviewed Sarah a few years ago.
Our recent visit is chronicled in our Harvest Diaries on Can Wine Save the Planet?
Hedges Family Estate is one of the vineyards we will be featuring in our Documentary “Can Wine Save the Planet?” We look forward to spending time with them over the next year to see their practices in action and share with you their story.
I look forward to following their integrated pest management techniques, and the development of their guide to biodynamics in this high dessert landscape. I also look forward to getting back to visit with their greeter Clash, who accompanied us on our walks around the vineyards and gardens.
You can follow the project at CanWineSavethePlanet.com, where we will have plenty of extras with in-depth interviews and educational videos on these farming methods. You can only fit so much in a documentary, and there is so much to tell! We don’t want you to miss anything! Head over there and follow us for great content as we are filming!
Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine and WSET 3 Certified. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.
When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.
Check out our book series, “Tempting Spoonfuls” available through Amazon!
Inspired by the flavors and aromas in wines, these books create “tempting spoonfuls” of flavors to pair with wines.
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This book is 60 pages, 18 recipes, lots of beautiful photos, and insights into some fantastic small wineries!
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A slightly larger book at 104 pages, this time you learn about pairing with a type of wine from a region. Rather than a specific bottle, you can look for a style of wine from a region and feel confident that it will go well with the recipe pairing we provide. We give you 12 recipes, each to pair with a wine.
The goal is to make your mouth water and encourage you to create your own “Tempting Spoonfuls.”