NEWS / What's Happening at Hart Family Winery


Time to pick up your Winter Hart Wine Club Release

2 bottle Reds Club:

Zinfandel 2012, Temecula Valley, Huis Vineyard

Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Temecula Valley, Hansen Vineyard

3 bottle Reds Club:

Zinfandel 2012, Temecula Valley, Huis Vineyard

Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Temecula Valley, Hansen Vineyard

Cabernet Franc 2012, Temecula Valley, Estate Grown

3 bottle Mixed Club:

Zinfandel 2012, Temecula Valley, Huis Vineyard

Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Temecula Valley, Hansen Vineyard

Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Temecula Valley

2012 Zinfandel Huis Vineyard

Produced from a traditional head-trained vineyard on rootstock grafted to budwood from Amador County’s historic Deaver Vineyard, this fruity, classic Zin has been aged 12 months in premium American oak and blended with a touch of Petite Sirah. This deliciously complex wine is illustrative of the quality attainable from a well-farmed young vineyard. 14.6% alcohol.

2013 Sauvignon Blanc Temecula Valley

With tropical and subtle herbal notes, and a clean peachy finish backed by just a hint of French oak, this alluring dry white wine was produced from Sauvignon Blanc grapes grown in the Hart Family Vineyard and in Temecula Valley’s Huis Vineyard. Predominately Musque clone blended with a smaller proportion of a traditional Loire Valley-esque clone, this wine is a perennial favorite and has been produced here at Hart since 1981. Serve with grilled fish, oysters on the half-shell, steamed mussels, clams, or garlic chicken 13.9% Alcohol.

2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Hansen Vineyard

Grown by long-time Hart friends Phil and Marion Hansen in their lovingly farmed 5 acre mountain vineyard west of Temecula at 2,400 feet elevation, this wine reflects the passion and hard work the Hansens have put into their family vineyard. This deep, full-bodied wine has enough tannin structure for aging and is also enjoyable now. 14.3% alcohol.

2012 Cabernet Franc Hart Family Vineyard

Introducing a classically produced Cabernet Franc from Hart estate grapes exclusive to wine club members. This varietal is often the subtle, herbal complement to many Bordeaux varietals, but this wine stands on its own backed by impressive tannins and notes of licorice and currant. Enjoy now or age for a few years, this Cabernet Franc will surely become a new favorite.



Having made wine for 34 vintages here at Hart Winery we should know that each harvest is unique, each has its own surprises, large or small, and that some harvests are more unique than others. And this, the 2014 vintage, may be the most unusual of them all.

Why? Okay, let’s list a couple of things that make this year so different beginning with the earliest start of crush we’ve experienced in those 34 years. Typically, we begin harvest the last week of August or the first week of September and in the occasional early harvest vintages, a week earlier than that. We ordinarily finish crush in early-to-mid October, and in some years as late as early November. But this year our first grapes, an Italian white variety Arneis, were picked on August 6th and we expect to have everything harvested and crushed by the third week of September.

Another difference this year: we’re in a prolonged, multi-year, severe drought here in California and the greater Southwest. We are subject to tight limits on irrigation water usage with allotments based on irrigated acres, and water pricing penalties if allotments are exceeded. Fortunately, grapes have inherently low water needs as opposed to high water-demand crops such as citrus or avocados. In our own Estate vineyard we are running a lean but adequate irrigation program, staying nicely within our water allotment and growing great fruit as well (although perhaps at some minor cost in grape tonnage). Also, in the last couple of years we have gone through the entire vineyard and replaced much of the drip irrigation tubing and all of the old emitters, as well as repaired any leaks we found. The vineyard is working at full efficiency, water is precious stuff in these parts!

So, despite what may appear to be an adverse growing year we are making marvelous wines with exceptional natural balance, outstanding flavor and color, and beautifully structured tannins. Wine grape vines do seem to thrive on a fair amount of adversity! As the old-timers say, the best wines are made when the vines get a little stress; and modern viticulturists agree.


Well, several things. Firstly, we crushed for the first time the aforementioned white Italian variety Arneis, native to the Piedmont region of northern Italy. We are pleased with the results! The newly fermented wine just went dry a week or so ago and we have on our hands (or more accurately, in the glass), a rather light-bodied, delicately subtle dry white wine with great acidity and hence the potential to be a terrific food wine. Jim finds peach flavors and aromas and Dan and I concur, although there may be just a subtle almond note skipping along in the background. It’ll be interesting watching this one develop between now and bottling, and we think this wine is a strong candidate for an early trip through the bottling line and into the bottle.

Of more than passing interest are several recent limited bottlings including 71 cases of 2012 Temecula Valley Petite Sirah Reserve (our first bottling of this varietal since the 1980 vintage, and yes, we’ve been making wine here that long); 96 cases of 2012 Estate Cabernet Franc Reserve; 99 cases of 2009 Volcanic Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon; 139 cases of 2010 Volcanic Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve; and 95 cases of 2011 Volcanic Ridge Syrah Reserve.

Of these small, mostly Reserve bottlings three are available on the current release list including the 2009 Volcanic Ridge Cab, the 2010 Volcanic Ridge Cab Reserve, and the 2011 Volcanic Ridge Syrah Reserve (a stunning wine). These very limited releases are quite extraordinary and are priced accordingly.

And finally on the “what’s new” list, we have completed our winery and tasting room renovation, and if you haven’t been by recently you should come see us. We are really pleased, nay ecstatic about how it all came out. The work was done under the talented guidance of Jim and Christine’s contractor son-in-law (and Nancy and my grandson-in-law) Evan Pence and his merry band of subcontractors, with decorating guidance from the very creative Donna Johnson and her sister, architect Michele McLain, and with considerable input from the Hart family and winery staff. It was at times a disruptive experience, but so worth it. Come check it out and we think you'll agree.


In addition to a whirlwind harvest, a complete winery renovation, and the aforementioned Reserve bottlings, we are proud to present a few more recent bottlings:

Mourvedre 2012, Temecula Valley, 245 cases

Zinfandel 2012, Temecula Valley, Huis Vineyard, 320 cases

Merlot, Temecula Valley, Konchar Vineyard, 247 cases

Sangiovese 2012, Temecula Valley, Huis Vineyard, 320 cases


After several years of producing our Blanc de Franc Cabernet Franc Rosé from our own Estate Grown Cabernet Franc, our new 2014 Rosé is made from Tempranillo grapes and a touch of Merlot from 3-year-old Estate vines. We had planned to produce a typical robust dry red Rioja-style wine from this 1-acre block of Tempranillo which can be a prolific producer. We dropped the crop back to a single cluster per cane on the bi-lateral-cordoned VSP-trained vines and adjusted the irrigation schedule to keep berry size small. As we approached harvest we felt the block was still somewhat over-cropped so chose to make the grapes into Rosé; a wise choice it turns out. The fermentation was stopped at 0.75% residual sugar by dropping the tank temperature to 40° F. This tempranillo rosé is going to be delightful!

Hart Winery has a long history of making Gold Medal-winning dry Rosé from various grape varieties and vineyards, including from 128-year-old Grenache vines from Cucamonga Valley’s Collins Ranch (a victim of expansion at Ontario Airport); from a 3-year-old Grenache vineyard in Temecula; from a Syrah vineyard in Temecula of unknown age; from our own Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown in our Estate Vineyard; and of course from our Estate Vineyard Cabernet Franc vines, the source of our Blanc de Franc Rosé. Incidentally, we recently learned that a rogue, not-to-be-named-here Temecula winery has purloined our Blanc de Franc Rosé name to use on its own Cabernet Franc Rosé; should have copyrighted it!


That’s us! And I say this without braggadocio. Our small 4,000-case annual production winery may well be the most consistent small-winery producer of Gold Medal and Best Of Class wines in the Temecula Valley. Why? Along with excellent wine-making equipment and access to the finest vineyards in the Temecula Valley, we have in Winemaker Jim Hart, Assistant Winemaker Dan Denison, and founding Winemaker Joe Hart a highly experienced, well-trained, academically grounded (UC Davis) winemaking team.

And we have a singular focus: producing all our wines exclusively from the Temecula Valley and South Coast AVA grapes. We don’t bring in fruit from Napa, Sonoma, the Central Coast or other California regions; our wines are all from grapes grown here in Southern California. We cultivate long-term relationships with the growers from whom we buy grapes to make many of our wines, but if they fail to produce the quality it takes to meet our standards, we will make grower changes as needed. And in the 10 acres under our direct control we do most of the vineyard work ourselves, and many of our best wines come from our own grapes grown by us in our own vineyards. We are passionate about what we do and we want our grape growers, and the other wineries here, to be just as passionate as we are!


Ha! You thought we’d forgotten about the wines, didn’t you? Here they are:

2 bottle Reds Club:

Merlot 2012, Temecula Valley, Konchar Vineyard, $36 or $28.80 for Wine Club

Sangiovese 2012, Temecula Valley, Huis Vineyard, $30 or $24 for Wine Club

3 Bottle Reds Club:

Merlot 2012, Temecula Valley, Konchar Vineyard, $36 or $28.80 for Wine Club

Sangiovese 2012, Temecula Valley, Huis Vineyard, $30 or $24 for Wine Club

Syrah Reserve 2011, Temecula Valley, Volcanic Ridge Vineyard $42 or $33.60 for Wine Club

3 Bottle Mixed Club:

Merlot 2012, Temecula Valley, Konchar Vineyard, $36 or $28.80 for Wine Club

Sangiovese 2012, Temecula Valley, Huis Vineyard, $30.00 or $24.00 for Wine Club

Blanc de Franc Cabernet Franc Rosé 2013, Hart Family Vineyard, $24 or $19.20 for Wine Club.


You betcha! Wine Club members Rich and Sheila Travers volunteer at the winery and while helping with crush several days ago, Rich offered to bring a seafood lunch the next day. He’s a professional musician but a talented cook on the side, and also happens to run a seafood brokerage. We accepted his lunch offer! So Rich and Sheila showed up the next day, fired up the Weber and grilled scallops and salmon to perfection! Sheila served a delicious salad, and Rich served the scallops with drawn butter and the salmon embellished with a pesto sauce. Rich and Sheila chose the wines: our 2013 Sauvignon Blanc and 2011 Grenache, Palmador Vineyard. The Sauvignon Blanc was perfect with the scallops, and the Grenache ideally complemented the salmon! My wine of preference with salmon has always been Pinot Noir - until now, anyway! Give it a try while it’s still wild salmon season. Thanks, Rich and Sheila! If we can pry the recipes from Rich we’ll certainly share, (and we still have a few cases of the 2011 Grenache)!

Bon Appétit from the Hart Family and our great staff at Hart Winery

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