Winemaker Randall Watkins grew up on a vineyard located in the foothills of Taylor Mountain in Sonoma County. His father was a garagiste, creating rustic Zinfandel and crisp Chardonnay in a barn on their property with the help of friends who were paid in wine. Beginning when he was only 10 years old, Randall participated in the annual harvest and grape crush, and as he grew older he continued to learn about farming and fermentation from his father.
Prior to earning a master’s degree in enology from UC Davis, Watkins learned winemaking hands-on in the cellars and labs of Buena Vista Winery and Hartford Family Winery in Sonoma County, as supervisor of red wine fermentations at Carmen Vineyards in Chile, and as assistant winemaker at S. Anderson Vineyards in Napa. Watkins went on to produce stellar wines over the next 7 years as winemaker and General Manager for Carmenet Winery and Moon Mountain Vineyard.
Watkins’ favorite big red wines have consistently come from vineyards located in the Mayacamas Mountains. “When Greg showed me Redwood Hills Vineyard, way up on the Mayacamas Mountains between Santa Rosa and Calistoga, I immediately knew that we had the potential to create some of the greatest Cabernet Sauvignon and Meritage wines in the North Coast. The steep, red volcanic slopes are south-facing, providing excellent drainage for the vines and optimal sun-exposure to the grape clusters. These mountain origins are apparent in the depth and balance of the Hauck Cellars Redwood Hill Cabernet Sauvignon and the Hauck Cellars Meritage – both wines richly concentrated with smooth tannins, ripe cherry, and dried sage.”
Watkins has been making spicy Sonoma County Zinfandel wines for many years. In addition to crafting Hauck Cellars wines, Randall is the consulting winemaker for two up-and-coming wine brands and has his own small label, Watkins Family Winery.