Our Winemaker & Our Vineyards

Our Winemaker

Randall-in-vineyardWinemaker 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.

Our Vineyards

 

We have selected vineyards from throughout Sonoma County to produce the wines we love. We began producing wine in 2004 and through the years we have developed relationships with wineries and vineyard owners across many appellations in our area. While we have always been pleased with our vineyard relationships, we always look to raise our expectations of our chosen vineyards, as great wine begins with great fruit. Our greatest advice upon entering the wine business came from Tor Kenward of Kenward Family Wines. Tor’s sage advice was, “Don’t buy vineyards. Find the vineyards that you want to produce from, and choose the growers you want to work with.” We took that advice to heart. While we do not own any of our own vineyards, Hauck Cellars does have designated rows within several great vineyards in select appellations. We direct the management of our vineyards, and Greg actually farms some of the vineyards on his own.

chalkhill

CHALK HILL ESTATE VINEYARD

(Chalk Hill Appellation)

In 2013 we decided it was time to make our first Chardonnay. We had two contracts with vineyards in the Russian River Valley, both of which fell thru at the last minute with a smaller than expected crop. Over a game of Bocce with Bill Foley, owner of Chalk Hill Estate, a new project was born right at harvest time. Hauck Cellars is honored to be the only winery, other than Chalk Hill Estate, producing Chardonnay from this esteemed property. Hauck Cellars now has three rows in their vineyards which will produce approximately one hundred cases of Chardonnay each year. Our first vintage is scheduled for release in the spring of 2015.

armida

ARMIDA VINEYARD

(Russian River Appellation)

The first wine we ever released was Sauvignon Blanc, and we chose the Russian River for its long, cool growing season. While we have had great success with the O’Neil and Coronation Vineyards, in 2014 we chose to move to the Armida Vineyard. It is always a pleasure to work with good friends, so when Bruce Cousins of Armida Winery offered us grapes from their vineyard, we jumped at the chance to pick our six rows to produce our limited production Sauvignon Blanc.

dlm

FELTA VINEYARD

(Dry Creek Valley)

When we moved our office and tasting room to the grounds of DeLaMontanya Winery, it was a perfect time to switch to this Zinfandel vineyard adjacent to our office/tasting room. With the vine’s right outside of the office, Greg has the opportunity to watch over and farm this Zin on a daily basis. We last made wine from this vineyard in 2006. With the 2013 vintage, this will become our primary source for Dry Creek Zin.

sthul

STUHLMULLER VINEYARD

(Alexander Valley)

In 2013 we returned to the Alexander Valley when we were able to secure six rows of Clone 337 Cabernet Sauvignon from our friends at Stuhlmuller Vineyards (Jason add link). We made our mark in Sonoma County by winning the Best Cab in Sonoma County two years running (2005 and 2006 vintages) with an Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Now we are primed to release another powerhouse Cabernet from Sonoma County’s premier region for Bordeaux varietals.

bugay

BUGAY VINEYARD

(Sonoma County)

John Bugay is a meticulous farmer and produces some of the most sought after grapes in Sonoma County (and most expensive). Since we shared a common wine maker, Randall Watkins, we were able to procure a small amount of the fruit for Hauck Cellars from 2009 to 2013. John sold the property in 2013, but you will continue to see new Cabernet releases thru the 2012 vintage.

fultonvineyard

DEVRIES VINEYARD

(Russian River Valley)

This is a pretty cool Old Vine Zinfandel vineyard that we started farming in 2014. We play a regular game of poker with the Devries and a bunch of Sonoma County Deputies every month, and when we were asked by Pete and Lynn to farm and make wine from their property of about 350 vines, we could not refuse. The oldest vines were planted in 1897. Jennifer and Greg hand pick this vineyard, which will produce only about fifty cases each year.

_Proof_Tableau07FB_L

REDWOOD HILL VINEYARD

(Sonoma County)

We were first turned on to this vineyard by a Napa Cabernet producer who said, “I’m a Napa guy, but if I was ever to produce a Bordeaux varietal from Sonoma County, this would be the vineyard.” We snatched a bin of Cab and Cab Franc from this mountain vineyard in 2005 to produce one barrel of Tableau, which is still one of our all time favorite wines.  We continued to produce Tableau (our signature wine when the vintage designates) through 2007, as well as non-vineyard designate wines thru 2009. After an extensive reworking of the vineyard, we are please to return to Redwood Hill with the 2014 vintage, and we look forward to releasing the first wine designated Tableau since 2007.