Oakland-Alameda Estuary “Up Close and Personal!”
Swimming, Kids, and Summer
Exploratorium – Summer Programs for Kids of All ages
Children’s Fairyland
May & June Children’s Events at Book Passage at The Ferry Building
Port of Oakland and Yoshi’s Set the Stage for Another Ten Years at Jack London Square
Bay Round Up
Kaboom 2004
Wild for Mama!
Blue & Gold Fleet at Pier 39 Names Robert Knigge, Vice President Sales & Marketing
Port of SF Awarded $5 Million for Illinois Street Bridge Transportation Project
May & June Adult Events At Book Passage at
The Ferry Building
Port of San Francisco Executive Director Resigns
Construction to Commence on Historic Rehabilitation of
Piers 1½-3-5 Projects
BART Quietly Makes Repairs
May of Wine and Roses
Libations: The Other Side Of The Mountain
May Wine Festivals
Economic Press Produces an Excellent Vintage!
Gardens: Roses -No Pain No Gain
Bay Area Vacations: Sausalito
Cuisine: Chevy’s Crab Enchiladas
Tiburon on the Move
Cruise Ships Bring Gold but Cruise Ships Also Bring Problems
Alta Mira – A New View
West Marine Turns to Greene
BART and SamTrans – the 11% Solution
Goodbye Chieftain
Good Show – 9th Pacific Sail Expo signals time to move on
Free Boat Show! May 1 & 2

May of Wine and Roses

By Mary Swift-Swan

Spring reaches full bloom in the month of May. Flowers are everywhere. The air smells so sweet and clean it kisses the lips like clear cool water or fine wine. Plants everywhere are growing with a burst of green. Rose blooms are at their peak of perfection. Wines aged to perfection are tried at wine festivals all over the country. Tiburon holds its annual wine festival in May, along with many other festivals all over northern and central California. One thing they all have in common besides great wines are their outstanding display of roses. Roses decorate the front of the vine rows throughout the growing season. Why roses? According to Lorrie Rodgers of Smith and Hook/Hahn Winery of Montery, roses are the canary in the mine to wine growers. When roses show any abuse by pests, they are treated quickly. If not, the invasion can rapidly move to the vines. Roses not only look gorgeous and produce a lucious and fragrant aroma, they also save our vines.

New Crush at Hahn Winery

May is a wonderful time to visit wineries. Monterey has one of the oldest wine festivals in California, held this year on the first weekend of May. Meeting Lorrie Rodgers who represented Smith and Hook/Hahn Winery at the San Francisco Crab and Wine Fest, I accepted her invitation to visit Hahn Winery. It was a very interesting tour, and provided an opportunity to introduce Bay Crossings readers to a new option in nearby wine country excursions.

Nicky and Gabby Hahn were looking for property in the San Lucia Highlands of Monterey County in the ’70s. They found two ranches for sale, the Smith and Hook ranches, which were adjacent to each other. One had been a cattle ranch and the other a Quarter horse ranch. Nicky and Gabby purchased both and began planting grapes. There are now 1,000 acres of land planted in grapes. The winery is around 1,000-foot elevation that looks directly across the Salinas Valley at the Pinnacles. Nicky Hahn was a driving force in getting the San Lucia Highlands to be an accredited appellation, an area designated for growing grapes like Napa and other grape regions of California. The Hahn land rolls down from the mountains. It looks like rolling waves covered with the lines of vines.

The first label for wine produced was Smith and Hook Vineyards. In the early 1990s, Nicky introduced the Hahn label with an easily identified rooster. (Hahn in German means rooster.) The label artist won an award for the attractive artwork. The shop at the tasting room at the winery has roosters everywhere in many art forms.

Four years ago, Nicky decided to make a world-class wine with the Hahn label. He made sweeping changes toward that end. The vineyard chose a new vision, a new mission, a new winemaker (Adam La Zarre), a new vineyard manager (Andy Mitchell), a new president (Bill Leigon), plus a new sales and marketing team including Lorrie Rodgers.

The winery developed totally new vintage wines for both existing labels and created a third label of table wine, called Rex Goliath after a circus Rooster that weighed 47 pounds. Rex Goliath is a pleasant non-vintage casual or weekday dinner wine available in four varieties. Lorrie said, “Adam makes these big, rich supple, full- bodied, well-balanced reds. Due to team effort we are winning many awards with our new vintage wines. He has such a sophisticated palate, I ask him, ‘Since Betty Gable insured her legs, have you insured your palate yet?’ He just smiles.”

Laurie went on to explain the value roses in the vineyard. “Roses are used at the head of the rows of vines to alert the vineyard manager of possible problems with insect pests. The vines are trimmed with fewer leaves on the side that faces the mountains that separate us from the ocean to allow them more sun because of the cool morning fog. On the opposite side, the canopy is heavier to provide protection from the warm valley sun. The vines are trained with four primary branches that weave together forming picture perfect rows. When the grapes ripen, deer can be seen eating grapes from my office window. They look so pretty we do not begrudge them. We have enough to share with a few deer. The reds are grown near the top of the property. As the property rolls toward the warmer valley floor, lighter grapes are planted working toward whites, like chardonnay, grown nearest the valley floor.”

“Smith and Hook label is now only for grand reserve red wines. The first released of the new Cabernet Sauvignon Grand Reserve won 2nd in the Pro Wine Trade Competitions, a blind tasting competition, against wines from 1,500 professional vineyards from all over Europe and from other parts of the world. The internationally respected competition was held in Germany this past January. At the same competition, the Hahn Meritage won a first, a gold, in the classic Boudreaux style,” Lorrie crowed. The team at Smith and Hook/Hahn Winery are deservedly proud of their four-year effort to change the winery to produce quality vintage wines. The prices for both wines are very reasonable. The gold winning Meritage is only $18 and the Smith and Hook Grand Reserve Cabernet is $20. Smith and Hook or Hahn vintage wines can be found at fine bottle shops, cheese and wine shops, Cost Plus, Whole Foods, gourmet food stores ,and at several of the up coming wine festivals.

The winery has a wine club that sends out new wines to try every quarter. The club members also receive a newsletter, discounts of 20% at the winery for wine and the gift shop. It also entitles members to use one of the original ranch houses that has been changed into a lovely site for meetings gatherings, parties, weddings, or whatever they choose once a year at no charge. There is also a BBQ party there in October for all the members.

Visiting the Monterey wine country is a treat. The wine council has subtle signs that can be seen all along the road pointing out the different wineries. There are many wineries along River Road, which runs along the base foothills. The Smith and Hook/Hahn winery is two miles up a private road from River Road. During my short visit to the winery, it was surprising how many people came to the winery to enjoy the wine tasting room on a Friday. In most groups , at least one person in the group had been to this beautiful winery before. Some of the wines available at the winery are not available in stores. For more information, call (831) 678-2138, or go to www.hahnestates.com