Hawk and Horse Vineyards
Red Hills Lake County AVA
All of our grapes are hand-farmed and we are able to touch every vine we own. Our entire operation is organically-certified and completely bio-dynamic.
When he was growing up, Mitch Hawkins’ family was always surrounded by certain aspects of the wine industry.
“My grandfather and great grandfather even made some Spanish-type wines for the family,” recalled Mitch, 58, as he delivered a load of freshly-picked Petite Verdot grapes from his vineyard to his nearby winery. “Wine was always in our blood and it always seemed a part of me even when I was very young.”
Hawkins and his wife Tracey are partners with Tracey’s father, David Boies, in a high-profile winery in the emerging Red Hills AVA, located in Lake County in Northern California. The winery is called Hawk and Horse Vineyards and is headed for stardom among California’s top ultra-premium varietal producers.
For the record, the Red Hills AVA is located in the Northern Mayacamas Range, above Napa Valley and just below the town of Kelseyville. It is on the southwestern edge of Clear Lake and is composed of dozens of volcanic hills that range from just over 1,350 feet to over 3,700 feet. The majority of vineyards are planted at elevations above 2,000 feet and offer excellent drainage in addition to the rich, red volcanic soil. The Red Hills AVA was established in 2004 and has attracted interest from a number of major wine producers including Beringer Brothers, Bartolucci Vineyards and many others.
Hawk and Horse Vineyards is grown on 18 acres of land at an elevation of just over 2,200 feet. The winery first saw light in 2004 with a tiny production of just 48 cases. In the ensuing decade and a half, Hawk and Horse has grown to an annual production of around 3,000 cases.
“We are at a really good place,” informed Mitch Hawkins. “All of our grapes are hand-farmed and we are able to touch every vine we own. Our entire operation is organically-certified and completely bio-dynamic. We consider this our gift of preserving and giving back to the land that provides us with such wonderful fruit.”
Tracey Hawkins performs a special role at Hawk and Horse Vineyards. “My wife has a magic palate when it comes to tasting wines,” related Hawkins. “She has the very last word on all the blends.”
Hefty words when you consider who the consulting winemakers are at Hawk and Horse Vineyards. First and foremost is Richard Peterson, dean of modern California winemaking, and an iconic figure in California’s rise to international prominence. Peterson and Hawkins have been friends for decades and Hawkins refers to him as a ‘mentor’ as well as a great family friend. Then there’s Scott Harvey, another noted winemaker from Amador County whose clients include Montevina Wines, Santino Wines, Renwood Winery, Folie a Deux Winery, and his own Scott Harvey Wines. But, in the end, Tracey Hawkins makes the final call.
“She’s always right and her choices closely mirror Richard’s (Peterson) own choices,” noted Mitch Hawkins. “Between the two of them, we have managed to produce some really wonderful wines.”
What does the future hold for Hawk and Horse? “Well,” admitted Hawkins, “we have some additional land that is plantable (some 1,300-plus acres to be exact) and that is an exciting aspect for our future. We have always grown slowly and the results have been encouraging. I can’t make an exact prediction, but if all goes well and we continue to be as successful as we have been with our wines, we’ll definitely grow some in the future.”
Hawk and Horse Vineyards has a by appointment-only tasting room that is located between Hidden Valley and Lower Lake on Route 29 that Hawkins said is a “true wine experience. We walk the vineyards, taste the wines, and really get to know about how the grapes are grown and the wine is made.”
The ‘Horse’ part of the winery refers to both Hawkins’ love of horses. Tracey is a barrel-rider and Mitch has his own stable of horses that he frequently rides. The couple is also proud of a herd of Scottish Highland cattle that they have nurtured on their expansive farm.
Mitch Hawkins acknowledged that he is living the ultimate dream with his successful winery and farm operation that has become a big-hitter in the highly competitive wine world. He shares his success with others in his family and close friends.
“Who would have believed that an Oakley, California native could end up in a situation like this?” he finalized. “I work hard during every waking moment.” We know our Platinum Wine Club members will enjoy the experience of tasting this marvelous wine from Hawk and Horse Vineyards.
Map of the area
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,
We are a family owned and operated vineyard-estate winery situated atop the Mayacamas Mountain Range in the Red Hills AVA of Lake County in Northern California. We take great pride in our farming practices and are both CCOF Organic and Demeter Biodynamic methods.
Founded in 1999 by David Boies and Mitch and Tracey Hawkins, our 18-acre mountain estate vineyard is situated at elevations of up to 2,200 feet. The rocky red volcanic soil literally sparkles with Lake County diamonds, a form of crystallized silica unique to the Red Hills AVA. This diverse ecosystem supports a wide variety of wildlife, including red-tailed hawks, bluebirds, barn owls, honey bees, bear, bobcats, mountain lions, wild boar and black-tail deer in addition to spectacular wildflowers such as wild iris and lupine.
The wine that has been selected for this shipment is our 2013 Hawk and Horse ‘Block Three’ Cabernet Sauvignon. This is an extremely small production bottling which we do not make every year and is not even offered on our website. A family favorite, this wine is a blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petite Verdot.
The 2013 growing season exhibited moderate temperatures. We saw slow, even development and ripening in the vineyard which allowed for long hang time. This gave the wine complexity, depth of color and flavors, and a great balance of fruit and acidity. Handcrafted in an Old World style, we used minimal intervention in the cellar in order to bring the highest expression of our Lake County Red Hills vineyard terroir to every glass.
Mitch and Tracey Hawkins