by Chris Russell, Contributor
With the 2019 harvest completed, the holiday season flurry behind us, and the grapevines gently slumbering in the vineyard, one might be tempted to think life takes on a slower pace at 2Hawk after the new year. In reality, winter at 2Hawk is a change of pace, but it’s anything but slow! In the vineyard, preparations for the upcoming 2020 growing season occupy much of our attention. In the winery, the laborious and joyful task of winemaking goes on. Meanwhile, in the tasting room, a culinary event series brings local food and wine together in new and delicious ways.
In the vineyard, the vines are dormant and will remain so until spring, when warmer temperatures induce them to begin growing again. During the dormant period, some crucial housekeeping duties must be performed to ensure the vineyard will be ready for the 2020 growing season.
Most importantly, starting around mid- to late-January, the vines are pruned. Fruit is only produced on the new season’s growth, and pruning helps ensure the new shoots emerge in a location that maximizes potential fruit quality. Pruning is also our first opportunity to balance the vines. If we prune too severely, we can end up with too few shoots and too little fruit, which can then ripen too soon and lead to wines that lack the complexity that comes with late-season hang time. The opposite is also true if we prune too lightly and end up with too much fruit. This can lead to dilution of the wine’s aroma and flavor. The old growth, or canes, are removed from the vines and left on the vineyard floor to be mulched into the soil.
Meanwhile, the vineyard’s soil is continuously monitored for moisture. In early February, tests are conducted to analyze the soil nutrients. This data provides vital clues about the health and status of our vineyard’s soils and the conditions the vines will face when they emerge from dormancy, allowing any potential issues to be corrected long before they become troublesome.
In the winery, the focus is on bottling and evaluation of the new wines. Some of our 2019 vintage wines—Sauvignon Blanc, classic Viognier, and Grenache Rosé, are actually ready to be bottled now. In addition, we’re also about to bottle our next Darow Series wines—Chardonnay and Viognier from 2018, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo from 2017—and, excitingly, our first Padigan Series wine: the 2017 Padigan Series Malbec. The Padigan Series represents a new tier of quality with a different focus. Don’t worry, nos amis, we’re already planning a deep dive into the Padigan Series with a special release event for the wine club. More on that later.
Meanwhile, the 2019 vintage is undergoing analysis to confirm fermentation is complete. Barrel tastings are underway to not only evaluate the vintage’s barrel-aged wines but also to discover the nuances the different lots present as we determine how best to achieve maximum potential quality. Beginning in a few weeks, extensive blending trials will provide more clues about how the different lots will ultimately be assembled into the finished wines.
The Tasting Room
In the tasting room, the signature event this winter is 2Hawk’s Culinary Series, held on the first Monday of every month through April. At each culinary event, 2Hawk hosts a different local guest chef, who guides participants through the preparation of a multi-course meal, each dish specially designed to be the perfect accompaniment to one of 2Hawk’s wines. Participants get to sample the prepared food along with their paired wines during the class. They also receive printed copies of each recipe—along with special pricing on the wines featured in the class.
This winter also marks the announcement of several prestigious awards won by our wines, which never fails to generate buzz in the tasting room. So far this winter, 2Hawk has been honored with one Platinum and three Double Gold medals in the exclusive, invitation-only 2019 Wine Press Northwest Platinum Judging competition, along with six more medals in the 2019 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, including Double Gold for the 2017 Darow Series Chardonnay and 2017 Darow Series Malbec as well as Gold for the 2018 classic Viognier and 2018 Grenache Rosé. More than 6,800 wines were entered, making this the United States’ largest competition of domestic wines. 2Hawk garnered the only Double Gold Chardonnay and only Double Gold Malbec from Southern Oregon.
Winter is an inspiring time of year at 2Hawk, with the first foundations being laid for the year to come. We hope you’ve enjoyed learning what this season means to us. If you’re not already subscribed to our newsletter, it’s a great way to learn more about 2Hawk and keep apprised of our latest happenings. Do you have any questions about our wines, our vineyard, or the winemaking process in general? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Please comment below or reach out to us directly via our Contact page.