Sustainable farming techniques are one of the reasons Bouchaine Vineyards has been crafting award-winning pinot noir and chardonnay longer than any other winery in the Carneros District of Napa.
Falconry — using hawks and owls for bird abatement during grape growing season — is on their list of practices. Now, you can watch these majestic birds in action.
The winery’s new Falconry Winery Experience ($200) begins with a walk through Bouchaine’s estate vineyard to the Terraces vineyard knoll while learning about the winery’s grape vines, terroir and history.
There, you’ll see panoramic views of San Pablo Bay, San Francisco, Mt. Tamalpais, and the famed Los Carneros AVA. With regal hawks and falcons on their arms, members of West Coast Falconry will explain how trained falcons and hawks are used to intimidate and chase pest birds from the vineyards.
While there, you’ll witness birds swooping through the air, returning to their handler, and then, if you wish, to the gloved arm of each guest. With six falcons, nine hawks, three owls and a vulture, West Coast Falconry is one of the few falconries to hold a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Special Use permit, allowing a trained bird to fly safely to a guest’s gloved arm or a guest to hold a bird for photos.
A picnic lunch and wine tasting follow in Bouchaine’s lush gardens overlooking the vineyards, of course.
Reservations are available for Falconry Vineyard Experiences on May 13 and May 27, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., by calling 707-252-9065. Ask about additional dates throughout the summer and fall.
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