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Paul and Vicki’s Hawk Hill Vineyard is full of history; it was first planted by the Russians in the 1820s. Prior to Prohibition a century later, it was known as O’Farrell Hill (after Jasper O’Farrell who supplied redwood trees from this plot to help build the city of San Francisco during the late 1840’s and was nicknamed “Vinegar Hill” because the last time someone had tried growing grapes on the hill, most likely Zinfandel, the grapes failed to ripen and for years, no one was brave enough to try and the property was converted to hay production from prohibition until 1990, when Paul and Vicki took over the property.
Why would someone buy a cold, damp place nicknamed Vinegar Hill and plant it with grapes? Should not Paul, a third-generation farmer, know better? Well, it turns out that he did know better, better than those who came before him, that is. Thanks to modern clones, rootstocks and winegrowing practices, Paul and Vicki hoped that they could turn this hill from producing vinegar to exceptional vino, which they certainly did!
The wine their grapes make is very distinctive and truly highlights its stunning terroir of Gold Ridge soils and coastal weather patterns result in tiny berries and clusters with atypical acid profiles balanced by exceptional flavors. Paul says people refer to his Chardonnay as Chablis on steroids, due to its excellent acidity and minerality.
Farming is in my blood and I consider making the earth productive and bringing forth its bounty is man’s highest achievement.
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