No need to be a tech expert to use Monarch’s smart, driver-optional, 100% electric tractor, even for a freshman vineyard owner. Here’s the story!

MK-V Helps Freshman Vineyard Owner Find Success in First Year

Location Healdsburg, California
Date Jun 13, 2024

Good wine is the fruit of relationships; those between the earth and the farmer, farmer and vineyard, vineyard and winemaker. The story of Fox Hill Vineyard, Broc Cellars, and Monarch Tractor puts an interesting twist in these collaborative efforts. For long-time vintner and freshman vineyard owner, Chris Brockway, Monarch’s MK-V is playing a crucial role in meeting the vineyard’s operational goals.  

 A Wine Pairing  

Organically farmed and naturally fermented since its establishment in 2002 by owner, Chris Brockway, Broc Cellars has been devoted to simple and ethical winemaking. For more than 10 years Broc Cellars had been looking for a vineyard to extend its winemaking philosophy into the growth and cultivation of wine grapes. In 2023, Broc Cellars purchased Fox Hill marking a significant milestone for both. Broc Cellars enjoyed a nearly decade-long partnership with Fox Hill, sourcing Italian varieties. The roughly 56 planted-acre vineyard boasts 25 Italian grape varieties and several Spanish varieties. Fox Hill sells grapes to six different wineries, including Broc Cellars.  

Monarch’s MK-V is playing a crucial role in meeting the vineyard’s operational goals.  

California is very expensive, so we really needed to find the right place. It’s been a great learning experience to bring full circle what we do in the cellar to what we do in the vineyard.

Chris Brockway, Owner, Broc Cellars & Fox Hill Vineyard  

Though the vineyard was purchased in 2023, Brockway began helping manage farming operations at Fox Hill in 2021. Those first two years were difficult as dramatic drought conditions resulted in small yields. Starting in 2021, Brockway began transitioning to use of cover crops to enrich soil health, boost water retention, control weeds, and support vine growth. During spring, sheep graze between the vines, which helps manage the crop cover and fertilize the soil.  

A CORE Consideration

Fox Hill is one of Monarch’s early adopters, purchasing the electric tractor in 2023 and taking advantage of California’s Clean, Off-road, Equipment Voucher Incentive program, CORE for short. Financial incentives such as California’s CORE and Carl Moyer programs and the federal Natural Resource Conservation Service Environmental Quality Incentives Program (NRCS EQIP) expedite a tractor owner’s return on investment. 

The driver-optional, smart, and fully electric tractor costs less to operate than a diesel and improves long-term profitability, but the initial purchase can be challenging for a new vineyard owner like Brockway. Well-timed financial incentives can make a dramatic difference when deciding to invest in such an important piece of machinery.  

Monarch Tractor Sales Demo Director, David Kahn, adds another layer to this relationship-rich story. As a former employee of Broc Cellars, he recognized an opportunity in the MK-V for Brockway.  

“The relationship between ourselves and David Kahn really helped get the ball rolling,” Brockway says.  

David Kahn and Chris BrockwayToday, Monarch Tractor, through its expanding dealer network, continues to help farmers take advantage of these offers during their short windows of availability.  

Ease of Adoption, Amplified Benefits 

At Fox Hill, bringing in diesel and sometimes having to haul in another tractor when older tractors broke down strained resources. From day one, the MK-V simplified operations.  

Having the Monarch has helped me become more self-sufficient out in the vineyard without having to rely on others for fueling. I can have a fully charged tractor every morning!

Chris Brockway, Owner, Broc Cellars & Fox Hill Vineyard  

Having the Monarch has helped me become more self-sufficient.


Although it’s an advanced piece of innovative ag technology, the MK-V is intuitive to use, requiring about one day of training. There is minimal data entry, and the electric tractor is compatible with the same implements farmers use with a diesel tractor, reducing any add-on investment costs beyond charging infrastructure.  

Moreover, the tractor’s value to the farm will increase over time. Because the MK-V is engineered with software-enabled hardware, new features and improvements are pushed to the tractor with over-the-air updates. As MK-V automation expands in markets, crop types, operations, and farmlands, Fox Hill is positioned for aggregated labor and environmental savings.  

During the first year of ownership, Fox Hill has been using the MK-V for mowing, crimping, and harvesting operations. The MK-V has been supporting Fox Hill’s efforts in organic farming, improving its resiliency against future droughts and other forms of extreme conditions. In 2024, Fox Hill became a California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) vineyard.  

For other farms and vineyards interested in organic certification, the MK-V can help make eligibility a realistic goal. Through Wingspan Ag Intelligence (Wingspan AI) the MK-V gives farmers historical reporting and visual feed on operations, making it easier to track and report metrics that may be required to attain and maintain various certifications.   

Watch the MK-V in action at Fox Hill in this gorgeous montage of vineyard operations.  

Video and photos by Stargazers Creative and used with permission from Fox Hill Vineyard

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