Beehives at Jordan Estate
Bees on a beehive frame

honeybee haven

Situated across from the Jordan garden, our apiary is home to thousands of honeybees that find endless food sources across Jordan Estate. A Flow Hive and traditional Langstroth hives are included, allowing our chef to evaluate colony health, bee productivity and honey flavor differences between the two types of hives. Since 2013, our attention to detail in pollinator conservation and habitat health has granted us to be a Certified Bee Friendly Farm. 

Other honeybee colonies also “vacation” at Jordan, bringing collaboration into how we care for our bee colony. Since 1996, professional beekeepers from the Sacramento Valley have brought their colonies to our idyllic estate for winter foraging before the almond bloom season. The hives, which are ultimately mobile homes for bees, are placed in a meadow surrounded by woods at the edge of our petit verdot vineyards. Our lakes and the nearby Russian River provide the bees with a reliable water source, and both wild and cover crop plants—from yarrow and California buckeye to red clover and mustard—offer food. It’s a win-win because the bees get the healthy diet they need and also pass pollen across our plants before packing up and moving back north to help cross-pollinate almond trees.

 

A home for mason bees

the importance of bees

Both honeybees and native bees play an important role in the annual lifecycle of a sustainable vineyard and caring for our bees is critical. Honeybees gather pollen from our wildflowers, bushes and blooming plants in the garden, and while they are needed to pollinate some crops, such as almonds, apples and broccoli, we grow very few of those plants at Jordan. Natives, such as bumblebees and Mason bees, are vital pollinators for important plants in our chef’s garden, such as tomatoes, squash, raspberries and strawberries, to name a few. That is why you’ll find Mason bee homes hanging from fruit trees and anchored between row crops in our winery garden. It’s also why we have open space dedicated to native bee pollinators. Although bees are not needed to pollinate Jordan’s grapevines, they are the primary pollinators for cover crops grown between the vines, which naturally replenish important soil nutrients. 

White flowes growing
Bee in a squash blossom

pollinator sanctuaries

European honeybees may be the most well-known pollinator, thanks to their gifts of honey, bee pollen and honeycomb, but more than 30 percent of the bee pollination is done by native species. Native bees and other animal pollinators are essential to the production of healthy crops for food, edible oils, medicines and more. As caretakers of a wine estate with hundreds of acres of open space, we believe it’s our responsibility to provide a healthy habitat for vital pollinators, such as native bees, hummingbirds, beetles, monarchs, other butterflies and moths. Through a partnership with Pollinator.org, several sites across Jordan Estate were identified and will be transitioned from pasture to pollinator sanctuaries, filled with wildflowers, native grasses and legumes. A focus was placed on planting milkweed for the western monarch butterfly, whose population has dropped to an all-time low in recent years due to stressors, such as habitat loss, insecticide pressure, pollution and viruses. Jordan Estate is located along the monarch’s migratory route as they travel to and from their overwintering grounds along the California Coast.

Collecting honey from a hive

honey on tap

Jordan was the first American vineyard to support the Flow Hive™—the first significant redesign of the common Langstroth hive created in the 1800s. Flow Hive allows honey to be extracted from a hive without traditional disruption or stress to the colony. It eliminates the most laborious jobs of a beekeeper, from dismantling the hive and harvesting the full comb to mechanically extracting the honey with a specialized centrifuge. A lever is employed to open honeycomb cells, and the honey drains directly into the container of choice, hence the slogan, “Honey on Tap.” Although we had three Flow Hives at the beginning of the experiment, our resident honey bees seem to prefer the traditional hives, and now only one of our nine hives is a producing Flow Hive. We are proud to support an invention designed to encourage more beekeepers, increase bee populations and raise awareness about worldwide bee colony collapse disorder.

Beehives at Jordan Estate

Experience the Estate

Guests can visit the Jordan apiary on Estate Tour and Vineyard Hike experiences.

More sweet tastes

Bees on a beehive frame

Jordan Unveils Largest U.S. Winery Pollinator Sanctuary