Hawk & Horse Blog

On the roads in Northern California we are beginning to see the sure signs of harvest.   Trucks, brimming with luscious wine grapes deliver the bounty of the vintage from vineyard to winery.  Most of the white varieties are harvested.  These tend to ripen before the reds.  The very first to be harvested are the wine grapes for Champagne.  Champagne and all sparkling wines are harvested a bit early because this bubbly delight is crafted differently from still wine - winemakers want more acid and less sugar in the fruit. Next come the whites and then the softer reds.  

Finally, Cabernet Sauvignon, king of the wine grapes, wraps up the harvest season.  We expect to harvest in mid-September.  

By all measures, this will be an exquisite vintage.  We had a late, wet spring.  Summer started mild and slightly cool with our highs in the 90s.  Our first major heat spike came in early August with temperatures in the triple digits.  Then we saw a nice fluctuation from cool days to hot. Our evenings are always cool due to coastal influences from the Pacific.  All this variation in temperature lends quality to our wines.  We had another heat spike in early September - just last week with temperatures topping 111 degrees! During these days of extreme heat we use drip irrigation in the evenings to keep the vines strong and healthy while the fruit reaches maturity. Our vines are tough and rugged, producing small clusters of fruit with thick skins. The depth of color, flavor and phenols come from the skins as the flesh of most red wine grapes is "white" (actually a translucent, whitish ice green).  We are very excited about the way the 2017 growing season is wrapping up at Hawk and Horse Vineyards.

As we move from winter’s cold to the warmer days of spring, the earth seems to come alive!

In the vineyard, renewal comes in the form of new life.  Small buds emerge and bright green leaves unfurl marking the start of the growing season; fruit trees are blooming and the ground is covered in a thick emerald carpet.  Hawks are sitting their nests, honey bees are beginning to emerge and make their presence known, and animal babies appear – from squirrels to mountain lions and every large and small creature in between.

Spring is a time to take stock of our lives.  We begin assess challenges and look forward to new opportunities ahead.  Spring is a good time to “clean house,” weed the garden, and check in to see if we are adhering to those New Year’s resolutions we set our intentions on when the year began.

Am I rambling…?  Maybe – but perhaps that is also a part of spring when the sun infects the senses and the perfume of flowers in bloom transport us into a new season.

May your spring bring you joy and enduring hope!

- Tracey Hawkins

Hawk and Horse Vineyards Winemaker

The break in rain, and the descending moon, calls for pruning to begin!

Last week, we had a wonderful time filming for a segment with FarmHer, which is a show about women in agriculture, aired on RFD-TV! Stay tuned for more details!

Just enough snow fell last night, to powder the vineyards for a beautiful photo!

Hawk and Horse Vineyards