Posts Tagged With: barrels

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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From Barrel to Bottle – Bottling our 2012 Whites

During the winter when the vines are bare and it doesn’t seem like there is very much going on at the vineyard, everybody is bottletruckactually quite busy doing any number of things. There is pruning to be done and general vineyard maintenance. The wines that are currently in tanks and barrels also need to be watched to make sure they are progressing favorably. The wine maker will use a wine thief to sample the wines and get an idea of what their flavor profiles will be like. He will also be making sure the barrels stay filled so that the wine inside is exposed to as little oxygen as possible.

emptybottlesGoing into spring, some of the white varietals will be ready to bottle, and that is exactly what we did earlier this month. The mobile bottling factory arrived bright and early on a Wednesday morning. During the days prior, filtering was performed for all the varietals that would be bottled. This included Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Grigio to name a few. The mobile bottling factory is a big truck with the entire bottling assembly line inside the trailer. At the start of the line, we would deposit the empty bottles by the case-full where they would begin their expedition through the machinery.

The bottles are sterilized one by one and blasted with nitrogen to dry them out and remove any oxygen from inside. This step is very important because it will prevent oxidation, which could negatively affect the flavors of the wine. The bottles are then filled with wine and another quick blast of nitrogen before being corked and topped with a foil capsule.


The center bottle is getting a refreshing blast of nitrogen before getting filled with Riesling.

Finally the bottles are labeled and exit the truck where we had staff waiting to rebox them and seal the cases. All the newly bottled wines were sent to our wine room where they will hang out for at least a few more months to allow the wine to recover from the shock of bottling (read more about bottle-shock). And soon they will be ready for you to taste and enjoy!


Here are some of the new wines you can expect starting around the end of June:
American Kestrel White
2012 Chardonnay
2012 Riesling
Red-Tailed Rose
Signature Series:
2012 Reserve Chardonnay
2012 Albarino
2012 Viognier
2012 Sauvignon Blanc
2012 Barrel-Fermented Dry Riesling

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Eat Local;Drink Local (TM): Movement and Event by Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery

Eat Local Drink Local Draft Art

It’s official: Hawk Haven will pair with Sean’s Restaurant to emphasize the environmental and economic importance of drinking local wine. We will kick off the campaign with a weekly small-plate dinner event on premises beginning November 6th.  Pair a beautiful local meal with a local wine.


The first “Eat Local; Drink Local” small-plate dinner will take place on November 6, 2009 from 7-10pm in the Hawk Haven tasting room. Reservations required. $50 per person. Call 609. 846. 7347. Join the movement: “Eat Local; Drink Local”

Yesterday I talked to Sean about local food.  Sean is as sunny as his little orange restaurant.

Messing around with my camera before our interview...

Sean with some local lima beans

He started the restaurant with his wife Jennifer because he loves to cook and, “My wife likes french fries.  We bought a restaurant so she could have them the way she likes them – no one else makes them.”  He’s all about high quality food – that’s why we knew he was perfect for our “Eat Local; Drink Local” campaign and event.

Sean is animated as he explains the importance of local food and wine.  “We all work together.  The more local I buy, the more it keeps everyone else in business.”  As he explained that most of his produce comes from Vineland, he reminded me that local foods just taste better – fresher.  “I’ve grown up eating out of a garden.  And the more people that start eating local food, the better everyone’s food will be.”

Fresh Corn

The “Eat Local; Drink Local” campaign is also about the environment.  Rich Saunders of says, “With all the focus on local food it often becomes easy to forget the climate impact of the manufacture and distribution of beverages. If you live in New York, Hawk Haven’s wines would travel 150 miles to your glass, instead of the thousands that wines from elsewhere often cover.” That is a huge carbon differential. So drink local wines – drink Hawk Haven wine!

We gave the event a trial run last night at Sean’s Restaurant.  Everything was delicious, but we might mix it up a little for the first event.  Can’t wait!

Kenna and Todd at the Eat Local; Drink Local test dinner at Sean's Restaurant

Lindsey and Cate at the Eat Local; Drink Local test dinner at Sean's Restaurant

Eat Local ~ Drink Local
Hawk Haven Vineyard and Sean’s Restaurant
6 November 2009
All Three Small Plates and Wines Included

Small Plate One
2008 Pinot Grigio

Spinach and Seared Scallop Salad dressed with Toasted Sesame and Siracha

Small Plate OneSmall Plate Two
2007 Red Table Wine

Pork brushed with Blackberry Barbecue Sauce served over Jasmine Rice and Chef’s Vegetables

Small Plate Two
Small Plate Three
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon

Rack of Lamb with Dijon Drizzle served over Roasted Garlic Mash and Chef’s Vegetables

Small Plate Three

Signing off from Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery in Cape May County, NJ – Cape May Wine Country ~ Cate

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Talks with Todd: The Booze and the Bees

Last wednesday we harvested the Pinot Grigio.  I decided to to try my hand at harvest, but I think I was more harm than help.

My Grandpa also helped, so we were both in the parking lot by 6:30 a.m. 

Grandpa in the Hawk Haven Parking Lot Ready to Harvest

 The first step of harvest is to unload the grape lugs from the barn. Lalo and the Grape Lugs

Then we harvest!Pinot Harvest Picture

Little known fact: if there is even a small puncture in the grape, it can start to ferment on the vine, especially if harvest is late in the season and the sugar content is high.  Todd decided to pull the Pinot Grigio at a fairly high brick count, which means there was a lot of sugar to ferment in the grapes. 

 Ed Wuerker Harvesting Pinot Grigio

Grandpa Harvesting Pinot Grigio

So, when the bees buzz around and feast on grapes, they actually get drunk!  Of course, Todd told me this like it was no big deal.  I thought it was hilarious!  Until one of them stung me, which I promptly used as an excuse to get out of the  grass and the bugs and stop harvesting.

Pinot Grigio at Harvest 

Pinot and Chardonnay are my favorite grapes to look at; the pinot has such a beautiful maroon color.  Below is a picture of the offending bee…

The Offending Bee.  What a JERK!

Signing off from Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery in Cape May County, NJ – Cape May Wine Country ~ Cate Hylas

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Wine and Dine: Rye Breaded Pork Roast with Hawk Haven Red Table Wine Marinade

I concocted a delicious pork marinade using Hawk Haven’s Red Table Wine last night.  The Red Table wine is dynamic – good for cooking AND complimenting with many types of food.  It’s a 75% Cabernet and 25% Chambourcin blend.  The Chambourcin really mixes things up.  It’s a very vivacious grape (and temperamental too).  The 2008 vintage Chambourcin we used is full of two seemingly contradictory flavors: fruit and spice.  This flavor combination makes it perfect for pairing with a simple dinner dish like pasta; it almost seasons the food for you.  And it’s also great for cooking because it’s bursting with spiciness AND fruitiness.

Pork is often prepared with both spicy/salty and sweet foods like a spicy sauerkraut and fruity applesauce.  I tried to mirror the flavor combination above when I came up with my recipe.

Rye Breaded Pork Roast with Hawk Haven Red Table Wine Marinade

Ingredients for Rye Breaded Pork with Hawk Haven Red Table Wine Marinade

1 glass (5oz) of Hawk Haven Red Table Wine

1 3/4 lb pork loin

Chervil and rosemary to taste

1 tbsp chopped garlic

1 tsp whole grain mustard

2 tsp olive oil

one whole onion chopped

one whole lemon squeezed

three pieces of toasted rye bread

Pierce pork all over with skewer and pound with mallet. Combine the wine, chervil, rosemary, garlic, mustard, oil, onion and lemon juice (and rinds to increase acidity) in a zip-lock bag with pork.  Let sit in refrigerator for 45 minutes to one hour.

Hawk Haven Red Table Wine Marinade

After the pork finished marinating (and my grandparents were salivating), I put the pork in a baking pan and put the bits of torn up rye bread on top.  I baked it at 350 for about an hour.

Pork in Baking Pan before Bread Crumbs

Pork in Baking Pan with Rye Breadcrumbs

My poor grandparents just wanted to sit down early and eat a simple pork dinner last night, but I decided to put them through another Hawk Haven wine recipe ordeal.  They were hungry when I got home at six, but they had to wait until 8:30 to eat.  (They loved it anyway).  So if you execute my Hawk Haven Red Table Wine marinade, start earlier in the evening than I did.

I set the table with pewter, featuring a pewter sugar and cream set from TreeHouse Antiques.

Pork and Set Table

Signing off from Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery in Cape May County, NJ – Cape May Wine Country ~ Cate Hylas

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Talks with Todd: Combatting Feathered Foes

Vineyard managers battle mother nature everyday.  Fungi, bacteria, mold and deer are all common wine-grape pests.  Come late August, early September, there’s a feathery foe: warblers.

The warblers swing presumptuously down from the sky and pluck our grapes right out of their clusters.  The brick count (a measure of sugar content) in the pinot grigio is nearly up to 20, so I can understand why grapes have become the choice bird snack.  I can barely prevent myself from picking the grapes right now – they are so good – so it’s hard to blame the birds.

To prevent against the wino-warblers (and Katies), Todd puts nets up around the vines.  Bird-brained animals can’t conceptualize of reaching through the nets, so the grapes are protected.

Netted Cabernet Sauvignon

It’s nice that there is such a simple alternative to using pesticides.  Nets – so easy!

Net Jungle

The view through the nets is absolutely breathtaking.  The nets make the vineyard feel misty and enchanted.

View of Netted Vineyard

Unnetted Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a half-netted Cabernet Sauvignon vine.  The half-net technique tricks warblers, but not me!  I ate one, and it was delicious.

Signing off from Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery in Cape May County, NJ – Cape May Wine Country ~ Cate Hylas

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Talks with Todd: A Virtual Tour of Verasion in the Vineyard

Scroll down to see Hawk Haven Vineyard in verasion.  Verasion begins when some grapes in the grape clusters begin to ripen, soften and change color.  Red grape clusters like Cabernet Sauvignon have both purple and green grapes during verasion.  Follow the yellow-pad map below!  These images are from August 17th, 2009.

Signing off from Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery in Cape May County, NJ – Cape May Wine Country ~ Cate Hylas

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Talks with Todd: Barrel Fermented Chardonnay On the Way

Smooth, buttery Chardonnays are my favorite wines.

I went to my first wine tasting ever (shortly after turning 21) on Long Island last summer, and that’ s when I realized that I love to learn about wine.  I asked them all sorts of questions, most of which they couldn’t/wouldn’t answer: what’s the difference between a note and a tone? how do the different flavors get into the wine?  why are some wines pink?  I went back to Long Island this summer, and I did a tasting at Wolfer Estates:  I fell in love with their buttery Chardonnay.

Hawk Haven has a traditional barrel fermented Chardonnay that will be ready in the fall.  I keep trying to sneak into the production facility with the wine-thief and have a taste of it, but I haven’t pulled that off yet.

Given how good our stainless-steel fermented Chardonnay is (that’s the American Kestrel White), I have very high hopes for this new wine.

Todd Filtering the Chardonnay

Todd Climbing up the Ladder to Filter the ChardonnayTodd and Lalo just took the Chardonnay out of the barrels and moved it into the stainless-steel casks where they will filter out the tartrates, which are salts that naturally occur in wine, but that we filter out for aesthetic reasons.

Cleaning out the Plastic Totes for the Chardonnay

The Chardonnay has already been through two fermentation cycles.  First , Todd and Lalo added yeast, which converts the sugars in the grapes to alcohol.  Next, they put the wine through Malolactic fermentation, which converts tart-tasting malic acid into lactic acid, which is much smoother.  The result: a beautiful and buttery Chardonnay.  Perfect as we transition from summer to fall…

So mid-blog, Todd walked in and I tried to convince him to let me try the Chardonnay.  “Todd, I need to try to Chardonnay – it’s for the blog, and it’s necessary.”

Success!  I’m drinking it right now; it’s smooth, buttery and beautiful.  Come try it when it’s ready in the fall!

The Barrels that the Chardonnay Used to be in

Sneaking the Chardonnay

Signing off from Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery in Cape May County, NJ – Cape May Wine Country ~ Cate Hylas


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Wine and Dine: Cedar Plank Salmon with Red-Tailed Rose and Orange Glaze Update

As promised, I tried out my own recipe for Cedar Plank Salmon with Red-Tailed Rose and Orange Glaze.  It was a success.  I changed the recipe based on a few suggestions from my Aunt Jane and Shop Rite’s poor selection of herbs.

Red-Tailed rose and Orange Glaze for Cedar Plank Salmon

Ingredients of Cedar Plank Salmon with Red-Tailed Rose and Orange Glaze

2 cups orange juice

2 tps orange zest

.25 cup olive oil

3 tps chervil

1 cup Hawk Haven Red-Tailed Rose

A few orange slices

I brushed the salmon with the glaze and situated some of the orange slices on top.  I think the crisped orange slices were the best part of the whole dish.

Salmon on the Grill

Salmon on the Grill

I soaked the cedar plank in warm water with a pinch of salt for about an hour before I put the salmon on.

Me with the Salmon

Me with the Salmon

Cedar Plank Salmon and Hawk Haven Wine

Cedar Plank Salmon and Hawk Haven Wine

My Grandma is still raving about this meal, so I recommend you try it out.   If I do it again, I may make a few changes.  I’ll probably increase the proportion of the Red-Tailed Rose wine, which has 4% residual sugar, so that the glaze is slightly sweeter.  I’ll also use cilantro.  The chervil was nice, but I like herbs with more kick.

Signing off from Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery in Cape May County, NJ – Cape May Wine Country ~ Cate Hylas

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Wine and Dine: Cedar Plank Salmon with Hawk Haven Red-Tailed Rose Wine and Orange Glaze

So I’m having a Julie Powell moment.  After seeing the movie Julie & Julia, I decided to try extending the blog to include cooking with Hawk Haven wine.  (Mostly I just want to bounce around my kitchen shouting  boef bourignon and bon apetit in falsetto).  I’ll try to wow my boyfriend and my grandparents with a Cedar Plank Salmon with Red-Tailed Rose and Orange Glaze tonight.  Wish me luck…

I’ll be grilling the salmon on a low flame with Cedar planks (courtesy of my Aunt Susan).   I’m not much for recipes, so I’ll just give you an idea of what I plan to do.  I can’t promise I’ll follow my own instructions, but I’ll let you know in another post what if anything I change:

Red-Tailed Rose and Orange Glaze for Cedar Plank SalmonAn image of my Aunt Susan's Salmon that I stole from her.  Thanks Aunt Susan!  Hopefully it will look something like this.

A little bit of cilantro..

A little bit of orange zest…

A few orange slices…

A few cups of orange juice…

About a cup of Hawk Haven’s Red-Tailed Rose…

Vegetable oil (maybe?)…

And Sour cream if I decide to turn the whole thing into a cream sauce…

I told you I wasn’t much for recipes… Suggestions and comments welcome!  If you have any of your own recipes that include Hawk Haven wine, please send them to me at, and I’ll post them on the website!

Signing off from Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery in Cape May County, NJ – Cape May Wine Country ~ Cate Hylas

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