Thane Hawkins founded Hawkins Cellars in 2007 with a fool’s mission: to find the best vineyard sites growing his favorite French varietals and make those wines all under one roof. It was a negociant’s dream, and Thane’s wanderlust for sourcing high quality fruit has taken him from Oregon’s northern Willamette Valley, to Red Mountain in eastern Washington. More recently, Hawkins Cellars has found a home on Underwood Mountain, a cool growing region similar in climate to Alsace; a wine region on the border of France and Germany, know for boldly aromatic white wines. It is from there that we are both growing and sourcing cool climate varietals, as well as continuing to source from a stable of world class sites from around the region.
Most of the fruit for our wines is sourced from higher elevation sites in the Columbia Gorge and Yakima Valley. We are not talking the Alps here! But just high enough to result in fruit that benefits from longer hang times (fruit on the vine for longer); and is lower alcohol, more fully developed, and complex. We utilize natural and low intervention winemaking practices as much as possible, using only organic nutrients when necessary, native fermentation wherever possible, and low to no sulfide levels. The vineyard sites that we purchase from all employ either organic or sustainable farming practices.
Underwood Mountain Wines
If lower alcohol and aromatic wines with great structure and acidity is your thing, you will love wine from Underwood Mountain.
Our Chardonnay is the polar opposite of what many Americans associate with Chardonnay. That is to say that this is not a buttery or oaky offering. When Thane returned from a trip to Burgundy and Chablis in 2016, he was determined to find an area that could produce a similar type of Chardonnay to the ones he tasted while there. And while Underwood does not have the iconic limestone soils of Burgundy, it does have the ideal climate to produce Chardonnay with great minerality and nuance.
A nod to the wonderfully aromatic white blends of Alsace region of eastern France, our TruNorth White wine is equal parts Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer and sourced from Underwood Mountain. The restrained minerality and acidity of the Gris dance in perfect harmony with the crazy aromatics of the Gewürztraminer. A perfect balance of ying and yang!
Like bubbles? Our Sparkling Riesling is made in a style known as Pet Nat (Pétillant Naturel) to give it a natural sparkle. Sipping this Riesling is like taking simultaneous bites of a ripe pineapple and grapefruit. Fermented using native yeast, bottled with no sulfites and no filtering, this wine is as natural as it gets! Initial Release Summer 2020
We both grow and purchase Pinot Noir from several vineyards on Underwood Mountain. We generally utilize between 25 and 50 percent whole cluster, as well as native yeast for fermentation. In terms of flavor profile, Pinot Noir from this area tends to have bolder fruit and less earthy and musty notes than Pinot from, say the Willamette Valley. We use whole cluster liberally to bring more earthiness and complexity back into the wine.
Red Mountain and Yakima Valley Wines
We have been sourcing Rhone varietals from higher elevation sites in Red Mountain and the Yakima Valley since our winery was founded in 2007. The continental high desert climate creates hot days and steady winds that promote slow, even ripening, followed by cool nights that ensure the grapes retain their natural acidity. With an average annual rainfall of just 6 to 8 inches, this area is an ideal location to grow the grapes for these more robust wines.
For our signature Barrel Select Viognier, we took our best barrels from a mix of French oak and stainless steel to go into this limited production wine. Aromatic yet restrained, our Viognier has a rich mouth feel while retaining a crispness that gives it the perfect balance. It tastes like summer in a bottle!
Our Caldera Red — a Côtes du Rhône cuvée — pays homage to the active volcanoes that helped shape the landscape and soils of the Columbia Valley. Comprised of 45% Mourvèdre, 28% Grenache, 24% Syrah, and 3% Viognier, this signature blend tastes unlike any other wine of its kind. This flavor bomb is full of mixed berry flavors and scents that will almost make you think you walked into a pie shop.
You can’t produce Rhone varietals without making a Syrah. We use fruit from two different vineyards and utilize a high percentage of whole cluster fermentation to add earthiness to this relatively fruit-forward varietal. Our Syrah is done in a “Cote Rotie” style, which means we co-ferment it with a certain percentage of Viognier to ensure great color and aromatics.
In every family there has to be a big brother, and in this family it’s our Cabernet Sauvignon. The fruit for our Cabernet comes from Kiona and Chandler Reach Vineyards from both the Yakima and Red Mountain AVAs. Aged 18 months in barrel, the result is a bold wine that is both approachable and complex. Enjoy it while still young or, for those who can resist its charms, cherish the tantalizing secrets it will reveal in years to come.
Last but not least are our single varietal Mourvèdre and Grenache. Affectionately referred to as “liquid gold” by our members, these wines are produced in small quantities and are available for members only. We sourced them from both Heart of the Hill and Lonesome Spring Vineyards, selecting only the best barrels.,