Hawk & Horse Blog

On February 18, Mitch and Tracey had the honor of pouring our wine for ASHA (American Saddlebred Horse Association) at their Annual Gala and Youth Conference in Lexington KY as a benefit for youth scholarships. We also participated in their fundraising auction by donating a weekend at Hawk and Horse Vineyards - we look forward to welcoming the winning bidder! Thank you Kentucky - for your warm welcome, beautiful weather and endless hospitality! Please read about our adventures below:

Part One: Lexington Horse Park

As we approached the tarmac at the Bluegrass Airport in Lexington, I said to Mitch “Can we send for the dogs and horses? - I don’t think I’ll ever want to leave!” And this even before I stepped off the plane! The view from the air was of large southern estates, miles of horse pasture, classic colonial style mansions, homes and beautiful barns. We were also delighted with the airport - there is no cleaner or friendlier airport that I have ever been to than Bluegrass. People are kind, efficient and cordial. We had our rental car with absolute ease and were soon at the Griffin Gate Marriott - one of Lexington’s premier hotel resorts. We were very tired after traveling across the country with kids, bags and through time zones - we had to get up at “O-Dark-Thirty” as the kids like to say to begin this trek.

We were met at the doors of the Marriott with friendly, staff who delivered our bags to our room promptly. Check in was a breeze. Soon we were staring out picture windows at the rolling hills, estates and pastures of Lexington - just gorgeous. We went straight to the pool and hot-tub to unwind from the flight and then to bed for an early night in comfortable surroundings.

walkingNext day we began with a visit to the Kentucky Horse Park and the American Saddlebred Museum. Few things in life outstrip your expectations - yet it seemed that each thing we saw and experienced in Lexington resonated with Southern charm just off the charts! At the Saddlebred Museum we laughed our heads off interacting with the exhibits and learned about American Saddlebreds from their origins to present day. We could hardly pull the kids away. The exhibits were very thoughtfully planned out and were interactive so that the girls had fun while learning (Photo: Frankie and Nina at The Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington).

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The horse park was phenomenal. Acres of rolling hills, horse pastures, museums and a friendly eatery. We took a horse-drawn trolley tour of the grounds, saw horses of many breeds including a couple of famed retired race horses, and a collection of carriages(photo below).  (Photo right: Nina in the virtual show ring - American Saddlebred Museum).

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We met resident horse professionals and regular working folks - each and every one as kind as the next. Here I’ll digress and share with you a little family humor from the Hawkins household. The girls sometimes refer jokingly to their dad as “the ‘Hi Guy’” because he is so friendly and out going. The people at the horse park were as exuberantly friendly as Mitch - so imagine our mirth when our own “Hi Guy” just fit right in!!!


For those of you who may not have heard of the Kentucky Horse Park - it is part living horse museum, part breed showplace, part equine event venue. They have a number of arenas - both indoor and outdoor, barns and displays, museums and thousands of acres of land. We spent an entire day and one half exploring and reveling in this truly one-of-a kind place. See their web site for more info: http://kyhorsepark.com/


Hawk and Horse Vineyards is sponsoring a visit by Katherine Cole, the author of Voodoo Vintners: Oregon ’s Astonishing Biodynamic Winegrowers.

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Katherine will read from her book and sign copies on Friday, February 24 from 5:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at Copperfield’s Bookstore in Calistoga. The event is free and there’s no need to RSVP. Mitch and Tracey Hawkins, will be on hand to discuss farming and to offer tastes of their 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2006 Latigo. Copperfield’s is located at 1330 Lincoln Avenue in Calistoga. We hope to see you there!

Mitch and I were in San Francisco yesterday, Thursday, January 19th on business. We ventured into one of my favorite neighborhoods, Laurel Heights, and tried lunch at Spruce. I would like to highly recommend Spruce! From the moment we walked in to the moment we left, the hospitality was welcoming and professional. The ambiance - chocolate brown accents, spacious caramel colored leather chairs and rich brown velvet drapes - set the stage for the simple elegance of the dining experience.

Bar at Spruce

 

It was a cold day and just beginning to rain in San Francisco when we arrived - we were ready for a warm meal! A French omelet tempted me from the start - harkening back to my days growing up in Sonoma County’s restaurant business. Mitch ordered the Spruce Burger. 

Now, I will have to qualify this report by saying that an omelet is a particular favorite of mine, and it is very, vary rare to find a restaurant that gives the omelet the proper respect - and preparation. It is hard to describe the perfect omelet: it is custard-like, simple - not overly spiced or greasy - and the height of comfort food meets gourmet pleasure. Placed on a bed of delicately wilted spinach and topped with a slice of Brie, the simple traditional flavors played off each other beautifully, each bite a delight of the senses. Mitch’s Spruce Burger pleased him as much. Being something of a red meat enthusiast, Mitch can be fussy about something as basic as a burger. The Spruce Burger was a thick patty of high quality beef topped with white cheddar cheese. The bun was slightly under-sized, making each bite more meat than bread - a not-so-subtle delight for any meat lover! The condiments included homemade pickles and French fries. Like my experience with the omelet, the burger was a humble and common menu item elevated to Spruce’s standards of perfection! Even the French fries were fried to a golden crispness, making them an absolute treat that I couldn’t help but snitch right off of Mitch’s plate!!! 

As those of you who know me can attest, I am a lover of great Brie and we often serve it at wine pairings and when entertaining. We had brought along a bottle of our 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon; the little topping of Brie insured a magical match. The rich earthiness of the spinach, the creamy texture and deep rich, fruity, slightly mushroom flavor and subtle saltiness of the Brie met the balance and acidity of the Cab like a symphony. And, of course, the burger and the Cab, with its balance and range of flavors, were a pairing of traditional excellence.

After our meal, we happened by the kitchen which is framed by a large glass picture window.

kitchen at Spruce

We were in awe. The kitchen was as clean as an operating room and I believe there were more kitchen staff than wait staff. One sous chef was carefully, perfectly, slicing skins off mandarin oranges, while another peeled carrots. The look of concentration on the faces inside that picture window spoke of caring attention to detail - I know that look - it is the look we have at the winery when we sample wines from the barrel. Careful, attentive concentration on a subject of culinary mastery. 

Throughout our experience at Spruce, the wait staff was kind, friendly and attentive without being too present during our meal. Sommelier Haley Moore took the time to stop by our table to say hello and we sent her back with a sample of our wine in hopes that you, too, can soon discover what a divine pairing our Biodynamically grown wines will be with the artfully prepared menu items at Spruce!!!

Our American Saddlebred Mare, Gift of Diamonds, "Diamond," is with foal and expecting her little one some time in March!  Below is her foaling schedule.  Stay tuned for news on Diamond's progress!  And, plan to visit us this spring or summer to meet our new equine baby!


Diamond Blog Pic
 

Estimated Foaling Date: March 18, 2012

Mare Name: Gift of Diamonds

Bred: April 4th, 2011

Estimated Due Date:

Early Watch - March 8 (330 days)

Average Date - March 18 (340 days)

Full Term - March 28 (350 days)

Winter in the vineyard is a time of rest - at least for we human caretakers of the land. The vines are in their dormant period. Harvest is behind us and the wine is at rest in barrels. The vineyard is a place of peace and serene beauty - the stillness of stark, naked vines contrast with wildlife; austere, bright skies contrast with a carpet of rich green ground cover. Hawks fly from their perches hunting by day - owls glide on silent wings at night. Turkeys parade in groups - golden and brown - picking at acorns from Oak trees on the vineyard’s edge, foxes nibble at stray berries and mountain lions also seek prey, quietly, on padded feet. Days alternate between crisp, sunny and cold to gray and rainy (though this year we‘d like to see a little more rain!). The soil is soft and moist - a deep, opulent red glittering with Lake County diamonds. These little gems seem to bubble to the surface this time of year, after the first rains…

 Below the surface, however, the earth is teeming with activity. Worms, microbes and friendly bacteria are working in the damp, soft soil and transforming the biodynamic compost we put out in the late fall. We have buried our 500 vineyard preparation (Horn Dung) and it, too, is being acted upon by friendly creatures within the soil to make the basis for the concentrated teas we will apply to the vineyard in very early spring.

 A visit to Hawk and Horse Vineyards is a delight this time of year. Call ahead to schedule a vineyard tour!

 

 
Hawk and Horse Vineyards