From Grape to Glass
2Hawk Vineyard & Winery is named after the two hawks that have soared over the estate and the vineyard since its original planting. 2Hawk sits squarely in the middle of the unique microclimate of Southern Oregon. The dry, hot summer days are quickly cooled in the afternoon with a refreshing breeze that might frustrate the golfers at nearby Centennial Golf course, but truly delights the vines on their 23.5-acre vineyard.
Although part of the Rogue Valley, the 2Hawk estate vineyard lies in the area known locally as the Bear Creek sub-basin, which is the Rogue’s largest tributary. Beneath our vineyard soils lies a two-layered bedrock consisting of a volcanic layer known as the Roxy Formation along with a deeper, softer layer of alluvial sandstone known as the Payne Cliffs Formation. As the Klamath Mountains started to uplift around 20 million years ago, our bedrocks began a long erosion process that resulted in the predominantly volcanic soils we find in our estate vineyard that are unique to the Rogue Valley AVA. 2Hawk is also distinguished by a large amount of cobbled river rock, especially in our eastern section, and a somewhat sandy streak of significantly younger colluvial deposit that runs through the center of our site. Overall, we have some of the oldest soils in the Valley. They are generally characterized as relatively shallow silty- to clayey-loams that are moderately well-drained with moderate to rapid runoff.
Intelligently attuned to the environment, Jen and Ross Allen bring a sustainable and natural approach to farming. For pest and vermin control, they use resident barn owls, ladybugs, jackrabbits, and their namesake red-tailed hawks. In the spring, you can spot Ross getting off his tractor to move killdeer nests out of harm’s way as they like to nest in the rocky soil and feast on vineyard bugs.
With 23.5 acres currently planted, there is room on-site to expand to 30 total acres of vines. The first block, containing Tempranillo and Viognier, was planted earlier this decade. The second block features Tempranillo, but only every other row was planted initially. The Allens filled in that Tempranillo block in 2014. Existing, poor-quality Chardonnay vines were replanted with Wente and Robert Young clones. Pinot Noir, Malbec, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat, and additional Chardonnay were planted in 2015.
The new plantings allowed the 2016 vintage to be 100-percent estate grown. 2Hawk produced approximately 1,400 cases in 2016. The new winery is capable of producing 10,000 cases, in balance with what can be grown in the vineyard.
by Kiley Evans, Winemaker
“Wine is made in the vineyard” is one of the most often-heard mantras of winemaking. While true, the inherent complexity of this statement is vastly underestimated. Each of 2Hawk’s many different vineyard blocks and grape varieties have their own sets of challenges and considerations. Being ever-concerned with pushing the ripeness and quality envelopes, we continuously experiment to discover what best expresses our site and its special characteristics. To this end, we employ various individually tailored cultural and winemaking practices—some old, some new, some proven, some experimental—to achieve fruit and wine that express the best combination of varietal character, site uniqueness, and vintage personality.
For example, our viticultural practices for Pinot noir are different than those for Malbec even though the two blocks share a common soil type. The same philosophy applies to our two blocks of Tempranillo because even though they are the same variety, the two blocks are planted in vastly different soil types, which require divergent management techniques.
At the end of the day, our wines are balanced, complex, and—above all—delicious when enjoyed alone or with food. As we say at 2Hawk, “Producing Malbec that smells and tastes like Malbec is relatively easy. Producing Malbec that smells and tastes like Malbec grown and produced at 2Hawk is incredibly difficult.” This saying motivates us because when daunting challenges are confronted, a struggle ensues that often foretells accomplishment.
The New Winery
2Hawk Vineyard & Winery’s state-of-the-art winery was brought online for the 2016 harvest and is now home to 38 barrels of 2016 estate-grown wines.
“The winery gives us greater quality control and personal input so we can really fine-tune the style of wine,” Ross notes.
Powered by a vast solar array, the winery relies on sustainable, low-impact methods for energy conservation, including a gravity-flow crush pad, barrel rooms with passive ventilation, and small batch fermentations to minimize temperature control needs.
“The initial 50-kilowatt solar panels will produce 100 percent of the energy needed in the winery. As production expands, it will supply 70 percent of the energy needed,” Winemaker Kiley Evans says.
2Hawk houses a cutting-edge laboratory as well as dedicated presses and processing lines for luxury-quality white and red wines and the most innovative destemming technology available. 2Hawk Vineyard & Winery is poised to produce wines unrivaled in depth, complexity, and expression of this place we call home.
The Darow Series
The 2015 vintage adds the Darow Series, wines that reflect the soils prevalent in 2Hawk’s vineyard. “This is a way of giving reverence to our distinct terroir and simultaneously recognizing the differences in wine character we discover,” says Kiley. “These extraordinary, age-worthy wines leave an impression of wonder for nature’s bounty and appreciation for our stewardship of the land.”