Promise of Paradise Episode 34: Jonathan Frey

Jul 25, 2019



Frey Vineyards put Mendocino County on the map as America’s first organic and biodynamic winery. 


That wouldn’t have happened if Paul Frey and  and his wife Margarette, known as Beba, hadn’t landed jobs at the Talmage State Hospital in 1959.


Both doctors, they had been hired to do early research on mental health issues and psychedelics -  LSD and psilocybin.


Paul and Beba had 12 children, towheaded kids, who all learned about grit and hard work. The Frey family lived in a big rambling converted barn in redwood valley in the 70s - one they shared with visiting intellectuals and a menagerie of animals  - including once, a pet deer that lived in the house.  


Jonathan Frey was the eldest of those 12 kids.  And he would later met his wife Katrina at a Covelo gardening project run by an eccentric Englishman named Alan Chadwick. Chadwick is credited with teaching gardening to a veritable who’s who of farming, food and wine luminaries. 


Recently, Jonathan Frey, General Manager of Frey Vineyards, stopped by the Magruder Ranch in Potter Valley to talk with me about his parent’s  journey back-and-forth across Route 66 in the 1950s.


Back then, Jonathan’s folks had worked as young clinic doctors in the Southwest with the Navajo and Hopi Peoples. 


With young Jon in tow, the couple criss-crossed the country searching for land and their next public hospital job...