Thanksgiving Wine Recipes

Last year this country spent $2,375,000,000 on Thanksgiving dinner food, yet the average household Mulled-Wine-41 spending was just over $50. That’s not a bad number considering how many people are probably at the average dinner table on turkey-day. This is probably because families typically split the menu, each person bringing their own special dish. Grandma makes the turkey, mom brings the sweet potato casserole, and uncle whips up his famous stuffing.

While some people might have their classic recipes they recreate year after year, others might be looking for something a little different, and we have just the thing! Below are some delicious recipes that are sure to please. Even better, they all involve wine, of course!

cabernetcranberries-12Cabernet Cranberry & Blueberry Sauce a unique twist on a Thanksgiving classic, AND we recently released our 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon! The recipe only calls for 1 cup of the wine, so you still have the rest of the bottle to enjoy before, during, or after.







White Wine Mushroom Bruschetta with Halloumi I think I teared up a little at this one, it looks so good. It would make a great appetizer while you wait on the turkey’s final touches! Try with out 2013 Chardonnay.

bite-cheeseCheesy Garlic Bites Forget Great Aunt Edith’s homemade bread recipe that’s been passed down for generations and served at every Thanksgiving meal for the last century, it’s time to start some new traditions! May I recommend our 2012 Pinot Grigio?


Mulled Wine– Who doesn’t love warm, spiced wine this time of year? It gets you feeling so cozy and totally in the holiday spirit. You can try this recipe or stop by our tasting room gift shop to find mulled wine spice packets. We like to use our Northern Harrier Red for this one.

51214740Darkest Chocolate Cake with Red Wine Glaze Don’t forget dessert! You will probably need to make one cake per person because I can’t see how anyone would want to share this. 2011 Proprietor’s Red Blend will probably work very nicely for this.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving recipes, especially ones using wine as an ingredient? How about pairings, what are you drinking with dinner?

Click pictures or recipe titles for image and recipe sources.
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50 Shades of Green: A Very Veraison Affair

Recently, veraison was in full swing at Hawk Haven and you know what that means, right? No? You don’t? Oh… well… this is awkward…

Not to worry, most people have no idea what “veraison” is, let alone how to pronounce it. Todd says it like the word “version” but with an “ay” between the r and s. But fancy Lou pronounces it the French way so it sounds like “vera-ZON” (say it with a French accent). I say it like… well, mostly I try not to say it at all, so instead I’ll just tell you what it is and show you some pictures.

Simply put, veraison is what is happening when the grapes turn from an opaque green to whatever color they’re meant to turn when they’re fully mature. That means your red wine grapes like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are turning different hues of purple, violet, and even blue. Similarly, the white wine grapes like Riesling and Chardonnay are changing to a golden tone, or a more translucent shade of green.

Below are some photos of our grapes in transition. You’ll notice that some varietals are farther along than others. The best way to see them, though, is on our Vineyard & Winery Tour where you’ll get up close and personal with the vines. You can also see more photos of veraison from our 2009 harvest by clicking here.

Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio











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Wine – Keep it Simple

Wine can be a very complicated subject matter. No doubt, tending and training the vines, growing the grapes, knowing when to harvest and finally the craft of bringing all of it together to produce an enjoyable experience to karlshare with family and friends is both challenging and hopefully rewarding for those engaged in the hard work. BUT!! If you are anything like me you are mostly interested in one thing: How does it taste and do I enjoy it.

O.K. you got me that’s two things.

Trust me, you do not have to be a Mensa candidate to enjoy wine. Some folks try to cultivate wine appreciation into an intellectual endeavor. It AIN’T. It is about the visceral impact of a good grape on one’s palate. That is it.

By the way the highest and best use to which a palate can be put is to separate the oral cavity from the nasal cavity. Everything and anything beyond that is simply a bonus. But what a bonus – when you find that just right wine to share with that just right person at that just right moment.

Take it from a lifetime member of the third reading group – keep it simple and savor the damn wine.





Karl is a former drill instructor and recovering attorney. He joined the Hawk Haven team in April of 2012 and we haven’t been able to get rid of him since. To read more about our resident vineyard curmudgeon, click here.

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Talks with Todd: Filtering the Wines

The Hawk Haven tasting room is not a bad place to work. We get to meet new people every day, they all come in with a smile on

Lou and Todd discussing the filtration process.

Lou and Todd discussing the filtration process.

their face (or if they don’t, we know they’ll be smiling after a few sips), and we’re surrounded by delicious, locally made, award winning wines. Sometimes, however, it’s nice to get out of the tasting room and check out what else is happening, and there’s always something to see. On weekends it’s the folks outside enjoying crepes and live music on the crush pad. During the week sometimes we’ll see Todd or one of his guys out in the vineyard. And since the other day I had such a fun and informative visit to our winery building while they were blending, I figured I would stop by again to see what Todd and Lou were up to. On this day’s agenda: filtration.

The wine pump moves the wine from the tank, through the filter, and into a new tank.

The wine pump moves the wine from the tank, through the filter, and into a new tank.

During filtration, the wine is pumped out of its tank and pushed through layers of pads in a process called “depth filtration.”  This process removes lees (dead yeast), tartrates, and other particles that might be hanging around in there. While I was there, they were pumping wine they had blended last week  through the filter and into another tank. Todd said the whole process can be a lot like a sliding puzzle, where you have one empty slot and you have to move all the pieces around to form the final picture. “You always have to have at least one empty tank, and it should be the biggest one.”

That seems like such a waste, doesn’t it? Those tanks are not cheap! But

Todd and the handy dandy filter.

Todd and the handy dandy filter.

when you have to pump 1,320 gallons of Riesling through a filter, you’re going to want to be able to put it into something that will hold it all. On this day they were filtering Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, QUILL, and a red blend that will be part of our new Flying Press series, all in preparation for bottling. Once bottled, we just have to wait until the wines get settled in their new homes, before it is finally time to move out of the bottle and into your glass.


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Blending In: Our 2012 Reds


Pumping Wine out of French Oak Barrels

It’s been nearly two years since the red varietals, which we harvested back in the fall of 2012, were first put into the French oak barrels where they began the aging process. While they sat in there soaking up all the flavors that the oak lends to the wine, like vanilla, mocha, and caramel, we waited patiently for them to finish. Well, somewhat patiently, since this past February we eagerly dug out the wine thief for some barrel tastings. They were so good then that I brought over any container I could find in the hopes of bringing some home, but Todd said no, they need just a little more time. He also was very against the idea of pouring his precious Cabernet Franc into a tupperware container.

But now that the bottling date is finally approaching and the wines are more than ready to go, we have started moving them out of the barrels and into stainless steel tanks. Meet Lou, our wine maker Todd’s new assistant.

Hi Lou!

Hi Lou!

Lou is using the wine pump to transfer some Tempranillo into one of the tanks you see in the background. The tanks will be sealed shut until we are ready to bottle (August 4th, come see us in action!), and once in the bottle we will let them rest for a few weeks to allow them to settle and to allow any instances of bottle-shock to dissipate.

Taste-Testing the Blends

We will have several standalone varietals like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc, but this is the time when we will also do any blending that Todd has planned. For instance, yesterday he and Lou were working on blending a NEW wine from our NEW Flying Press series (it’s NEW!). They basically get a bunch of glasses, put different amounts of wine into each glass, and taste them all to see which one was best. Those of us working in the tasting room that day were lucky enough to try some as well, and I’ll just say we cannot wait for you to try it.

By now you’re probably wondering, “When???? WHEN do I get to try these delicious wines!?” Some of you may have even pre-ordered them at one of our barrel tastings earlier this year. Todd says that we will start releasing the reds in mid to late September. I know, it seems like forever, but just remember that time always flies. And in the meantime, there is plenty of good wine to be had here in the tasting room! We are open daily for wine tastings and tours, and visit us on the weekend for Saturdays on the Crushpad and Sangria Sundays!


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The Wine Collectionary

My grandmother has 147 pigs.

Pig wine bottle holder 29208Not real pigs, of course, but all kinds of tchotchkes in their likeness scattered throughout her house. There are piggy banks, obviously. Pig hand soap dispensers, pig serving dishes, pig door stoppers. You can’t look in any single direction without seeing something pig-related. And the weird part is (wait, that wasn’t already weird?) she doesn’t even like pigs! She got one once as a gift and however many years later her house is full of them.

That’s what I think of when I think of collections, and I think most people have a collection of some sort. I like to collect uniquely-shaped wine bottles; I have cat-shaped bottles in multiple colors, a fish-shaped bottle, there’s even one shaped like a man holding a small barrel. Every time I’m in a wine shop I’m always on the lookout for oddly shaped wine bottles to add to my collection. They are not easy to find, especially once you’re purposefully seeking them out. Sure there are a few bottles with a curved neck or some pretty inlaid metal seals, but I want the really unique stuff!

Enter: The Wine Collectionary. Have you heard of it? It’s like Pinterest for wine collectors! Not only can you seek out specific items to add to your collection, you can also find out where to buy these items. For example, I found this cat-shaped wine bottle, including some information on recent pricing. For many of the items there are direct links to where you can purchase them online. And also, because I am familiar with this type of bottle (I have it in 7 colors), I was able to update the listing title, so other collectors will be able to find it

The Wine Collectionary is fairly new but there are already thousands of different wine-related items listed. They  have expert collectors called “moderators” that help create new Collectionaries (a combination of the words “collection” and “dictionary”), add cool items, and update listings like I did. In fact, you can be a moderator too. All you have to do is sign up, then you can add items, edit existing items, find where to buy them, and more. Plus you can put together your own collections to keep track of all your favorite items.

So check it out, and we’d love to hear about what wine-related items you’re collecting! And if you put together a “collectionary,” share it with us by commenting below, posting to our facebook, or emailing us at



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What’s in a wine? 5 little-known facts about Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio is one of the top five most widely purchased wine varietals, and what’s not to love? The crisp minerality and bright citrusy flavors make for a refreshing glass of wine to pair with any number of light dishes. We also love cooking with Pinot Grigio; check out this tasty recipe for Chicken Francaise! But there are some things you might not know about this popular varietal, so we put together five interesting facts to help you appreciate Pinot Grigio even more.

1. White Wine; Red Grape

Pinot_Gris_closeEven if you’ve never had Pinot Grigio, you probably already know it is a white wine. But did you know it is actually a red grape? It’s true! The Pinot Grigio grape is named for it’s blue-gray hue, and yet you’ll probably never see a bottle of red Pinot Grigio. How did that happen? To make white wine, the juice is pressed out of the grapes and the skins are discarded. Usually white (or green) grapes are used, but any type of grape will work. With red wine, black (aka red or purple) grapes are fermented with the skins before extracting the juice. The color isn’t coming from the juice, which is mostly clear, it comes from the skins. So why isn’t Pinot Grigio made as a red wine since it is a red grape? It probably has something to do with tradition, as well as the fact that this varietal just tastes better as a white wine.  The grape also has a very thin skin, so even if you did ferment the skins with the juice, you wouldn’t get the kind of rich color you would see in a Merlot or a Cabernet Sauvignon.

2. Early Riser

Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio matures rather quickly, and so it is usually one of the first varietals we harvest each year. By picking the grapes as early as late August, we can capture that perfect amount of acidity that really helps to bring out the bright fruity flavors we love in our Pinot. An early harvest also means we can get straight to work making wine! It usually takes around six months to make, so that means it is ready by late winter/early spring. By contrast, our Chardonnay harvested in the same season would only be half-way to three-quarters done, and it would be at least another year before you’d be tasting the Petit Verdot. And once you have your bottle in hand, it is ready to drink! There is no need to bottle-age your Pinot Grigio; it is best enjoyed young.

3. Same Grape, Different Names

Hawk Haven.IMG_0474The name Pinot Grigio is just one of many for this particular varietal. It is traditionally a French grape from the Burgundy region where it is called Pinot Gris, but it is also very commonly grown in Alsace where it used to be called Tokay d’Alsace. The flavor profile there is quite different from the Burgundian version. It is from Italy that the grape gets the Grigio, but rest assured it is the same varietal. In other countries you might hear other names like Grauer Mönch in Germany, Monemvasia in Greece, and Szürkebarát in Hungary. In the U.S. you will see both Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris on the label, but again, it’s all the same, though the winemaking styles may differ from region to region. The fun part is trying different Pinots from different regions or vintages and finding out what differences there are as far as colors, aromas, and flavors. Actually the fun part is all in the drinking, but you can really train your palate to pick up all the difference nuances of a particular varietal when you’re sampling from multiple locations or years.

4. Relative of Pinot Noir

Chehalem_pinot_noir_grapesAlthough there are thousands of different grape varietals out there, many of them are relatives or hybrids and Pinot Grigio is no exception. Many studies of PG’s DNA have revealed a close relation to the Pinot Noir grape. In fact, even on the vine they are so alike as far as cluster and leaf shape that the only way to distinguish the two is the color, a difference attributed to a genetic mutation. Pinot Noir tends to be a darker, almost black grape, whereas Pinot Grigio, as we said before, has a more blue-gray color. And while Pinot Grigio is grown very successfully in many places throughout the world, Pinot Noir can be a little more finicky and requires very particular growing conditions. The biggest difference is obviously that Pinot Grigio is a white wine and Pinot Noir is a red wine.

5. Don’t Be a Hipster

winesnobWine drinking is a culture and like fashion, certain wines go in and out of style. A lot of wine snobs will turn their noses up to Pinot Grigio because it is no longer trendy… or maybe it’s because it is too trendy? Whatever it is, they will spout off reasons like, “Pinot Grigio is too simple, uninteresting,” but the truth is, you can’t make blanket statements like that when it comes to wine. Sure, the mass-produced, cheap versions might not taste so great, and certainly there are some crappy expensive bottles out there. But there are so many factors that go into making a wine, from the growing region and conditions, to the winemaking styles, that you’re never going to taste two Pinot Grigios that taste exactly the same unless it is the same vintage from the same winery made with the same process. I recently did a vertical tasting of Hawk Haven Pinot Grigios; one from every year since 2009, and we were amazed at the divergence of flavors and aromas from year to year. So just because it isn’t “cool” anymore to drink Pinot Grigio, don’t let that stop you. Or maybe you’re one of those uber-hipsters who thinks its cool to like things that aren’t cool to regular hipsters because they are too mainstream. I don’t even know if that made sense, but my point is, drink more Pinot Grigio.

And you can start by visiting our tasting room to try our 2012 Pinot Grigio! Bright and mouth-filling with flavors of Bosc pear, honeydew melon, kiwi, and a lingering finish of grapefruit. It would make a great starter wine if you just want to have a glass before dinner, or try it with a nice shellfish entree. Whatever you do, feel free to share your favorite pairings with us, either here, on our facebook page, or email us at

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March Madness 2014


It’s happening again!

Hawk Haven is experiencing March Madness, and the savings are crazy! All month long we are offering 20% off of our 2012 Pinot Grigio, 2012 Riesling, 2011 Northern Harrier Red, and 2011 Proprietor’s Red Blend. Buy six bottles and get an additional 5% off, or twelve bottles for an additional 10% off!

But the savings don’t end there. Relax in our barrel room with your friends or significant other because for every glass of wine you order, we’ll throw in another one for free! This deal pairs perfectly with our Gourmet Cheese Plate, featuring four delectable cheeses, imported Marcona almonds, and Dalmatia orange fig spread.

There’s just no stopping the madness! Every week we will have a prize drawing for some really great events that we’re hosting this year, and you earn one entry for every 6 bottles purchased. Take a look below at what you can win!

March 1st-March 8th
Vineyard & Winery Tour tickets for four (Value: $100)
Taste through our wines as your guide leads you through every step of the wine making process from the vineyard to the vast steel tanks and French oak barrels. Discover what makes each wine unique and how our wine maker achieves every flavor and aroma. Learn the history of Hawk Haven while you sip. The tour concludes with a selection of gourmet cheeses to enjoy on the vineyard view crushpad or inside our cozy barrel room.

March 9th-March 15th
Private Wine Tasting for six (Value: $150)
Enjoy an exclusive wine tasting at our winery on the date of your choosing. Reservations required, some blackout dates may apply.

March 16th-March 22nd
Cape May Lobster Bake tickets for two (Value: $100)
September 13, 2014: A perfect pairing for a fall afternoon at the shore … tour the vineyard and sample some of the fine wines at Hawk Haven Vineyard and then purchase your favorite wine to complement a traditional clambake of steamed clams, lobster tail, corn on the cob, and more. Live Music from local singer/songwriters!

March 23rd-March 31st
AJ Meerwald Wine Cruise tickets for two (Value: $218)
August 16, 2014: Hawk Haven has teamed up with the Bayshore Discovery Project to create a relaxing evening aboard the historic AJ Meerwald, a Delaware Bay oyster schooner first launched in 1928. Enjoy a 2 1/2 hour cruise aboard the AJ Meerwald, accompanied by our award-winning wines paired with passed hors d’oeuvres. This is a popular event that sells out every year!

Earn a chance to win one of these great prizes by making your qualifying purchase within the seven-day window as listed above. For example, for a chance to win the Private Wine Tasting, your qualifying purchase must be made within March 9th through March 15th. Earn one entry for every 6 bottles purchased.

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Try this Turkey Lasagna with our Northern Harrier Red

Winter is the time for comfort food and a hearty lasagna really hits the spot. This recipe for Turkey Lasagna is perfect paired with our 2011 Northern Harrier Red, and feel free to pour yourself an extra glass. This dish is not only delicious, but with all that spinach and lean turkey meat, its actually kind of healthy, too!

Turkey Lasagna

original recipe found here

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound fresh ground turkey
1 (28 oz) can plum tomatoes, crushed
1 (6-oz) can tomato paste
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 (9-oz) package no-boil lasagna noodles
15 ounces low-fat ricotta or low-fat cottage cheese
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg, beaten
2 pounds fresh spinach, washed, but not dried
1 pound shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add ground turkey and cook for about 10 minutes. Add plum tomatoes, tomato paste, and season with salt and pepper; let simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes. Stir in basil and parsley; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and egg; season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Place damp spinach in a large skillet over medium heat; cook until wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.

Ladle 1/4 of the turkey mixture into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; spread to cover. Add a pasta sheet, 1/3 of the mozzarella, 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, 1/3 of the spinach mixture, and another 1/4 of the turkey mixture. Repeat process two more times; top with remaining sheet of pasta. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan over top. Line a piece of aluminum foil with parchment paper; spray parchment with nonstick cooking spray. Cover lasagna with prepared aluminum foil, parchment-side down, and transfer to oven. Bake until bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes.

Let stand about 5 minutes before cutting; serve.

If you make this tasty recipe, share your pictures and wine pairings with us! Post to our facebook or email us at

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Be Our Valentine?


Valentine’s Day is this Friday, February 14th, which is perfect because it means we have all weekend to celebrate. If you’re looking for something special to do with your significant other, Hawk Haven is the perfect place to spend a romantic afternoon and we have some very exciting festivities planned for this weekend.

If you’re single and Valentine’s Day is depressing for you, let us point out that studies have shown that CHOCOLATE makes everything better. It’s science! You can’t argue with science and you definitely can’t argue with chocolate. Not when there is wine involved, and I’m sure there are other studies showing that wine gives you eternal life or something, so you really can’t lose.

So here we are, offering you happiness and eternal life* and you’re still wondering what to do this weekend. Let us help you with that!

Our friendly tasting room staff are ready to serve up our award-winning wines!

Our friendly tasting room staff is ready to serve up our award-winning wines!

The tasting room is open daily, 12pm-5pm, for educational wine tastings, wine sales, cheese plates, and general hanging out. On Friday, February 14th, we will be offering our Wine & Chocolate Pairing for $12 which includes a wine tasting of eight wines, four of which are expertly paired with gourmet chocolates (we ate a lotttt of this chocolate so we’re pretty sure that makes us experts now), and a souvenir wine glass.

Then comes the Wine & Chocolate Wine Trail Weekend, February 15th & 16th. We are so excited for this weekend that we wanted to make sure you had plenty of time to enjoy it, so we extended our hours a bit to be 11am-6pm. Fall in love with our wines during the Wine & Chocolate Pairing, then stroll on over to our barrel room for a very special barrel tasting with our very special winemaker. During this barrel tasting, you will get to sample some of our newest wines and although they aren’t quite ready for bottling, they are already tasting great which is why we wanted to share them with you now. We will even be selling futures, so you can secure yourself some bottles before they are ever released to the public.

This is the best grilled cheese you ever had in your life, especially if you've never had grilled cheese.

This is the best grilled cheese you ever had in your life, especially if you’ve never had grilled cheese.

At this point you’ll be ready to sit back and relax under our heated crushpad tent with a glass of your favorite wine. Can’t decide which one you liked best? Order a red or white wine flight for a 2.5 ounce serving of four wines. By now you’re probably starting to get hungry, and as delicious as those chocolate tastings were, you need something more! We’ve got that covered too, with gourmet cheese plates and some appetizer-sized offerings from Chef Ryan Kennedy of Executive Catering. We had the opportunity to try some of these dishes last weekend, and they are not to be missed. You might have to order one of everything.

This article is getting pretty long but I am not finished! I didn’t tell you about the LIVE MUSIC yet! That’s right, we will have some great local musicians here from 2pm to 5pm all weekend. Come hear the poetic lyrics of guitarist Gordon Vincent on Saturday, then come back Sunday with your dancing shoes because we’ve got Tamara deMent on the violin accompanied by Jim Maher on the guitar.

And that’s that! If you totally scrolled straight to the bottom without reading any of the above, here is the jist of it: Wine, Chocolate, Food, and Live Music at Hawk Haven Winery this weekend, February 15th & 16th. Now you have to come because you skipped over all my hard work. See you there!

*Our lawyers have advised us that we must inform you we cannot guarantee eternal life from our wines. But we still think we can at least do the happiness part.

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