Posts Tagged With: hawk haven

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.

Categories: Behind the Bar, Uncategorized, Wine Tip | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Behind the Bar: Lynsie

This is going to be very odd because today I’ll be writing about myself. Hello, I’m Lynsie, I manage the blog, facebook, and twitter for Hawk Haven. You might also see me in the tasting room, usually at the register. I started working here in the summer of 2010 because Hawk Haven was and is my favorite winery here in Cape May County. I love the atmosphere, not to mention the wine maker hasn’t yet made a wine I didn’t like. Everyone here is so friendly, from the staff to the customers, that it never feels like a job.

lynsiebiophotoI live in Cape May with my husband but I was born and raised in Delaware. No kids yet, but we do have a dog and two cats. I started pursuing an English degree at University of Delaware, but ended up majoring in Religion at Liberty University in Virginia. So, naturally, I have a completely unrelated job here at Hawk Haven, pouring wine and tweeting pictures of the vineyard.

I love reading, cooking, and jogging. I also have an unnatural obsession with Disney World which everyone here loves to tease me about. Seriously though, get me started talking about it and I won’t shut up. I am amazed at the number of guests that visit the winery who are fellow Disney lovers and I love exchanging tips and stories about visiting “the World.”

But I digress. I’m supposed to talk about my favorite Hawk Haven wine now, but the truth is I love the different wines for different reasons. Mostly it depends on what I’m eating.cinderella I love the Pinot Grigio with salmon baked with lemon slices and capers because the citrusy notes of the wine cut through the creamy texture of the fish. I don’t eat Mexican food without the Red-Tailed Rose because the fruity sweetness is a perfect match for the spicier tones in the food. The Northern Harrier Red is a great everyday drinking wine and when I’m in the mood for something with a little more substance like pasta or burgers, this blend is an easy pick. I could go on and on but I guess if you were going to get me a bottle for Christmas, I would want the 2010 Reserve Merlot. It isn’t on our regular tasting list (it’s Signature Series), but I promise you this wine is divine. It’s so smooth and rich with notes of raspberry and cocoa. It was love at first sip!

My advice for wine drinkers is to not be afraid to try new wines. Your palate is always changing, and besides, even within a particular varietal there are going to be different flavors depending on where it was grown, how it was aged, etc. Wine tasting should be relaxing and fun; remember, you’re here to find something you love! And don’t be afraid to ask questions.

P.S. This month Lynsie is raising awareness and funds for the International Justice Mission‘s goal to end human trafficking, sexual exploitation, and other forms of violent oppression by participating in Dressember. She will be wearing a dress every day for the entire month of December, and you can follow her on instagram and twitter. Please consider making a donation on her campaign page (click here).

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Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta

You know autumn is here when you visit the grocery store or farmer’s  market and everywhere you look are different varieties of squash. Acorn squash, spaghetti squash, even pumpkins, and of course my personal favorite: butternut squash. Even the name sounds delicious, and it is so easy to incorporate in all your fall recipes.


Butternut squash is a pale orange veggie with a long pear shape and a sweet, nutty flavor. The easiest way to cook it is to cut it in half long ways, scoop out the seeds, coat the inside with a bit of olive oil, then roast it coated-side down in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until tender. You can jazz it up with a little cinnamon and brown sugar, chipotle powder, or even just salt and pepper. Once its cooked, you peel away the skin and it’s ready for any number of tasty dishes.

Recently a friend shared a very delicious butternut squash recipe with me and I couldn’t wait to try it. Even better, one of our wines here at Hawk Haven has reached its peak in flavors and aromas and turned out to be a perfect complement to this dish: the 2012 Signature Series Sauvignon Blanc.

photo 3

Due to limited production, the Signature Series Collection wines are not typically included in our normal wine tasting. The oak-fermented Sauvignon Blanc, however, has evolved so much since we bottled it back in April, and the once subtle essence of kiwi and melon have unfolded into bolder, more rich flavors of caramel and green apple. This wine is really in its prime!

So stop by Hawk Haven (we’re open every day 12-5pm), grab a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, and try it with this recipe tonight for dinner!

photo 1

Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta
1 medium sized butternut squash
1 tbsp olive oil
1 package fisarmoniche pasta (or your favorite variety)
3/4 cup ricotta
2 tbsp ponzu sauce

Set oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half length-wise and scoop out seeds. Brush inside of each half with olive oil, then place face down on a baking sheet. Roast in oven for 30 minutes or until tender, then remove from oven and peel off skin. Roughly chop the squash into small pieces.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain off water and return pasta to pot. Stir in squash, ricotta, and ponzu sauce.

At this point you may be tempted to grab a fork and eat right out of the pot, but let’s be civilized, you’re drinking a Signature Series wine after all! Scoop some out onto a plate, pour yourself a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, and go sit at the table. Try not to inhale it, remember to chew, and most of all, enjoy!

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Got any favorite butternut squash recipes? What are your favorite foods to pair with Sauvignon Blanc? Tell us in the comments below!

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Wine Tip: Rose Wine vs. Blush Wine


Labor Day might signal the end of summer vacations, but there are still several more weeks of  summer weather and what complements a warm sunny day better than a glass of rosé? Or wait.. is it blush? They both look the same, right?

the many shades of rosé

the many shades of rosé

What exactly is in my glass right now?

Turns out, rosé wine and blush wine are the same. If that’s all you needed to know, you can stop reading now, but if you want to impress your friends with your superior wine knowledge, continue on!

The secret to understanding rosé and blush wine is to have a general understanding of how red wine is made. When the red wine grapes are harvested, they are put into a machine that removes all the stems, then the grapes go into a tank where they will ferment. This is when the juice soaks up the color from the skins, and the longer they stay together, the darker the the wine will be. So if you’re making a rosé wine that has a nice pink hue, you simply want to press the juice out a little sooner, limiting contact with the skins.

Did you know: Rosé wine is thought to be one of the earliest forms of wine produced, an ancestor of the red wines we love and drink today. Over time with the development of new wine pressing techniques and equipment, plus a change in tastes for wine, wine makers started fermenting the juice with the skins longer to create heavier, darker, bolder red wines.

So now where does blush wine come in? They are the same thing after all, so why the different name? There are two reasons for this: the rise in popularity of White Zinfandel (a rosé-style wine), and the decline in popularity of rosé wine. Surely every one of you was a “White Zin” drinker at some point in your life, don’t try to hide it, we’ve all been there. White Zinfandel became so popular that wine makers were unable to keep up with demand. And even though White Zinfandel is a rosé wine, for some reason, people didn’t like the name “rosé” anymore, similar to how today we laugh about the olden days of Mateus.

Did you know: Sweetness is not necessarily a characteristic of rosé and blush wines. Many rosés are completely dry, meaning they contain no residual sugar, whereas others are sweet enough for dessert. The main distinction here is the color of the wine.

Try a blush wine with sushi!

Try a blush wine with sushi!

And thus the blush wine was born from the must, solving two problems. First, it was still that pink, sometimes sweet wine we all secretly enjoyed, it just wasn’t called rosé anymore. Second, it could be made from varietals besides Zinfandel which was running low on supply. Now you can find rosés and blushes made from nearly any red varietal such as Tempranillo, Cabernet Franc, or Merlot. A blush made of Cabernet Sauvignon, anyone? Come to Hawk Haven and try our Rosé!

Hawk Haven Red-Tailed Rosé

Hawk Haven Rosé

The bottom line here is that blush wine and rosé wine are essentially the same thing, and I want to make another point as well: please don’t stop drinking them! Whether you prefer red, white, or sweet wines, you don’t want to miss out on the many great rosés and blushes out there today. There are some that are very sweet and oh so tasty with a piece of chocolate or some sorbet, and there are some that are very dry yet still bold and fruit-forward, perfect for a barbecued dinner outside on the porch. When you’re doing a wine tasting, try to avoid the temptation to skip the pink wine in favor of something you already know you’ll like. You might be pleasantly surprised!

Please feel free to share your thoughts below. What is your favorite blush or rosé wine? Do you pair it with a particular meal or do you drink it by itself? Let us know!

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Behind the Bar: Josh

joshbiophotoIf customer reviews are any indication of your favorite staff members, Josh is probably somewhere in the Top 5. He is known for his very informative wine tastings and he also is one of three people qualified for doing our Vineyard & Winery Tours. Born and raised in Cape May County, Josh still lives locally with his wife Jill and two cute little red-headed twin girls. He came to us in the spring of 2011 with a background in Biology and an interest in producing wine on a commercial scale.

Besides working in the tasting room and acting as tour guide, Josh has also been managing Hawk Haven’s retail outlets. There are several local restaurants that carry Hawk Haven wines, and his job is to visit each place, make sure the staff are familiar with the wines, keep track of bottle sales, and restock them for the week.


His favorite thing about working here is “quality assurance.” In other words, he enjoys tasting the wine each day to make sure it is acceptable for you. In other, other words, he just likes to drink the wine. Like so many of us, he loves the 2010 Petit Verdot because it is silky smooth with flavors of blackberries, currants, and a deep earthiness. “The way most women feel about chocolate, everyone should feel about [the Petit Verdot].” His advice for fellow wine drinkers? “The only way to learn is to taste everything, so keep drinking.”

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Wine Tips: Five Tips for Pairing Wine with Food

winepairingBelieve it or not, a lot of people feel a great deal of anxiety over this one little choice: selecting a wine to go with a meal. This is especially true when they are choosing for a group. How do I know which wine to pick? How can I pick a wine that everyone will like? How do I know if it will pair well with the food? Relax! The choice is easier than you might think, and these five tips will help you along the way.

Tip One: Drink what you like! As we have said before, the most important thing is to pick a wine you enjoy. Ignore all the other factors for a minute, such as red or white, sweet or dry, expensive or inexpensive, chicken or steak. Forget it! What wine do you like? If you’re having guests, what do they usually drink? If you don’t know what your guests like, don’t worry about it, just focus on what you know. It is fun to experiment with different combinations, and over time you will find pairings that you love.

Tip Two: White & Light. Lighter foods like chicken and fish tend to taste better with similarly lighter wines which, generally speaking, are white varietals. Try barrel-fermented Chardonnay with a creamy chicken dish, or a Pinot Grigio for a light, flaky fish.

Tip Three: Heavy & Red. This tip goes along the same line as the second tip. Full-bodied reds will stand up better to heavier foods. Have Merlot with your red sauce pastas or Cabernet Sauvignon with a nice, juicy steak. The idea is to match the robustness of the

Tip Four: Opposites Attract. Sometimes it pays to choose a wine that is on the opposite end of the sweet/dry scale. Sweet wines can be great with spicy foods as they cut through some of the heat and refresh your palate for the next tasty bite. A lot of wine connoisseurs would frown at the idea of chocolate and red wine, but I personally think they are meant to be together. Dark chocolate and a dry red wine with plenty of smooth, berry flavors… pour me a glass!

Tip Five: Similar Tastes. This might contradict Tip Four, but matching tastes and aromas can also produce some lovely  flavor combinations. Let’s say you cooked seared scallops for dinner and you’ve drizzled them with fresh lemon juice. You already know that white wine would be a good choice, but let’s narrow it down a bit. Look for something with citrusy notes, such as Sauvignon Blanc, to match the lemon from the scallops.

I can’t end this article without adding a sixth bonus tip:  Google It! The internet is loaded with information and advice when it comes to wine, and you’re sure to find plenty of wine suggestions with a quick search for whatever you’re serving. Also, the tasting room staff here at Hawk Haven are more than happy to help you come up with something delicious. A lot of us love to cook, and we all love to eat and drink wine (who doesn’t?), so if you’re looking for a good pairing, all you have to do is ask! Don’t forget to share your favorite pairings with us!

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Behind the Bar: Jaclyn

If you’ve been coming to Hawk Haven for a while now, you’ve probably noticed some new faces over the last year. We thought it would be a good idea to let you get to know our staff a little bit more in our new Behind the Bar series. Of course, nothing is better than chatting in person, so come have a glass or two with our friendly wine tasting guides, waitresses, and service bar staff! In the meantime, here is a little background info on one of our newest employees, Jaclyn!

photoJaclyn came to us a couple months ago from Kennett Square, Pennsylvania where she lives with her parents and younger sister. She is currently majoring in Biology at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, and found herself drawn to the science of fermentation, so she is a perfect fit as our viticulture and oenology intern. She is also a Division I Track & Field Runner. Little known fact: Jaclyn can bench press 135 pounds. Do NOT mess with this girl! Not even Todd can bench press that much.

When she’s not using her well-toned arms to pour wine in the tasting room, she can be found by the water enjoying some deep sea fishing with her family, or surfing with friends in Stone Harbor.

Jaclyn’s favorite Hawk Haven wine is the 2011 Riesling. “It tastes like summer in a glass and I love the aroma of honeysuckle. It reminds me of my childhood.”

Her main goal at Hawk Haven is to study the wine making process, from learning about jaclynbiophotothe different varietals and how they grow, to fermentation and aging. You may soon find her, clipboard in hand, taking extensive notes on growing conditions, fermentation progress, and keeping track of various details like sugar and alcohol content, etc. She’ll also be helping with the Rutgers Research Project at Hawk Haven, tracking weather patterns and growth of the new vines.

We asked Jaclyn what advice she has for wine drinkers, and she said, “Don’t knock it until you try it!” Well said, Jaclyn, we agree completely!

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The Rutgers Research Project at Hawk Haven

Something exciting is underway at Hawk Haven (in addition to our regular, everyday exciting) that we wanted to share with you. We’ve been calling it “The Rutgers Research Project at Hawk Haven” (or Rutger’s Project for short) because it is headed by Dan Ward, the Assistant Extension Specialist, and Peter Oudemans, the Associate Professor, both of Rutgers’ Plant Biology and Pathology department. Together with the Outer Coastal Plains Association, they developed a four year trial to see how two rare and unique varietals grow here on the East Coast.

It all began a few years ago when Todd’s quality management of the vineyard caught Dan’s attention. He saw a guy who really cared about the plants and worked hard every day to bring each vine to its full potential. So Hawk Haven Vineyard was chosen, along with three other vineyards throughout the state, to participate in a mutli-year study of the different growing climates of New Jersey. Each vineyard was chosen based on their location as well as the dedication and commitment of the vineyard managers to their land. In that respect, we were very honored to have been selected and look forward to seeing the results.

Lagrein varietal

Lagrein varietal

We were provided with ten vines each of two different varietals. The first, Lagrein, is a red grape native to Northern Italy, known for its full body and high acidity. Besides Italy, it can also be found growing in Australia and New Zealand, and it is related to Pinot Noir and Syrah. The second is a relative of the Lagrein grape, another red Italian varietal called Teroldego, an even more rarely found grape. Teroldego is known for producing a deeply pigmented, fruity wine. Both varietals are almost nonexistent here in the states and have been quarantined at UC Davis for several years to test for inherent diseases and to see how they stand up against any diseases and pests that are native to North America.

The experiment also involved the installation of a weather station out in the vineyard that will record various factors like wind, humidity, precipitation, and temperature. There are even these little “leaves” that are placed within the canopy among the real leaves and will record leaf wetness. This information is uploaded via cell tower to a website that Dan & Peter will use to study all these factors at each of the four vineyards. The best part is that we also get access to this information which will be extremely useful to us going forward in planning future vineyard maintenance.


Teroldego varietal

We planted the vines earlier this spring, the weather station is all set up (you can check it out during our Vineyard & Winery Tour), and we also hired an intern who has experience in plant physiology. She will be helping Todd with petiole sampling to monitor nutrients, testing the sugar content in the grapes (°brix), and other information recording for this Rutgers Project. And get this: once the grapes are grown, we get to keep the fruit! So in a few years you might see some blends featuring Lagrein or Teroldego in the racks of our tasting room. In fact, we should probably start practicing how to properly pronounce those varietals.

By the end of the experiment, Dan and Pete will have collected enough weather information to see the difference in climate across the state and how it affects the vines. We think this will be really great for the New Jersey grape growing industry because in addition to producing award-winning wines, we will have cold, hard facts to support NJ as an excellent growing region.  So stay tuned, we will continue to give updates on the progress of this experiment, and we can’t wait to see how these varietals grow here and if they will produce good wines for us.

A lot of new varietals were planted this year in addition to Teroldego and Legrein.

A lot of new varietals were planted this year in addition to Teroldego and Legrein.

The weather recording station (left) and anemometer (right, in vines).

The weather recording station (left) and anemometer (right, in vines).

Leaf Wetness Sensor

Leaf Wetness Sensor

Categories: Talks with Todd, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

5 Wine Articles We’re Reading

1. How to create a great wine rack out of an old pallet. Pallets are usually free, and you can find them behind a lot of local retail stores (our ex-lawyer Karl says we should remind you to ask before taking anything).

2. Wine tasting is bullshit. Or at least the ratings are. The title of this article is a little misleading but it supports what we’ve been telling guests since we opened. Find what tastes good to YOU, take chances on wines you’ve never tried, and don’t force yourself to enjoy wines you hate.

3. What did wine taste like a thousand years ago? Apparently, not so good. But interesting little history lesson!

4. Natural Wine. What is “natural” wine and what the heck have you been drinking all this time??

5. Hot day, cold wine. You know to chill your white wines before drinking, but what about reds? A short stay in the refrigerator might be the perfect way to enjoy your favorite red wine on a hot summer day.

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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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