As part of the Wine Media Conference (WMC) event sponsored by Travel Southern Oregon I was fortunate enough to get to visit 2Hawk Vineyard & Winery . If you want to see what a modern winery should look and how it should be run, look no further then 2Hawk. 2Hawk’s website has so much great information on all of their sustainable practices both in the vineyard and their production facility, I’ll not try to restate it all here. What I will do is try to add some context to these practices in how it effects their wines.
Attention to detail. This short phrase, is what I remember most about 2Hawk. Owners Ross and Jen Allen along with Winemaker Kiley Evans have created the winery where no detail is too small to escape their notice. Just look at the picture below showing the grapevine baseboards on the locally sourced stones making up the walls.
When we were greeted in the winery by Ross and winemaker Kiley, I felt that we were in a modern laboratory. Not because it
was sterile and soulless, rather is was so organized and logical. Again you can find very detailed information on their website but just to highlight a couple of the key items.
The construction started with sustainability in mind. The room pictured to the right was dug into a hillside allowing for natural cooling as well as gravity flow for moving the wine during production saving on the energy needed to pump the wine. All the lights are LED and 2Hawks solar provides nearly 100% of their power needs. They have 2 different barrel rooms with 2 different temperatures for storing different styles of wine. Those barrel rooms use a passive ventilation system that keeps the rooms at the proper temperature and humidity levels with the minimum energy necessary.
We all know how important it is to keep a winery clean and germ free. The floor paint is antimicrobial, as well as all the doorknobs. The barrel rooms have Ozone gas in them to also keep any rogue germs at bay. As I said, no detail overlooked. Again if my highlights interested you, go to their site and get all of the details.
Ross, pictured on the right, is co-owner of 2Hawk, it’s vineyard manager, and the President of
the Rogue Valley Vintners Association. The is a lot of work for anyone, even for someone as energetic as Ross is! Ross blends old school farming and common sense with modern technology to run and manage the winery. Ross manages the 26 acres of vines that produce over 4500 cases of wine per year.
In the vineyard, pests are controlled by natural means, including Barn Owls and the pair of Red Tailed Hawks the vineyard got its name from. Minimal water is used, and used only when and on the vines that need it. From a mobile app, Ross can see all the groundwater sensors and the data from the weather station located in the vineyard and then control the water that needs to be delivered in real time. Ross does not use cover crops except as needed for soil health due to the water use cover crops require, however he does use native grasses and mulch as needed. The mulch is made from all of the stems, seeds, and skins from wine production and the canes pruned in the vineyard.
They learned about the soils on the property when they were digging into the hillside for the winery construction. If you are a soil geek, and who isn’t, check their website for detailed information, including a soil map of the area showing an old dry streambed.
When Kiley met us in the winery we were enjoying a glass of their 2019 Sauvignon Blanc paired with a Mushroom Duxelle. I believe Kiley has a unique approach to winemaking as he started in the wine business as a sommelier. Lots of study on the end of the winemaking process, that he then applied to the first processes of this miracle of turning grapes into wine.
Just as Ross blends the old with the new in the vineyard, Kiley does the same producing the wine at 2Hawk. Kiley stated that while great wine is made in the vineyard, he also added what vineyard? Due to the unique soil types and water requirements of the different grape varieties, Kiley works with Ross to customize the viticultural practices to ensure the grapes are the absolute best they can be, while still reflecting the unique terroir of this region.
All of the wines are fermented with yeast strains isolated from the vineyard. Kiley also uses some unique methods to create complexity in his wines. Some of these including co-fermenting for blends, along with doing multiple picks in the vineyard. An example of this was with an older wine they shared with us, a 2015 Malbec, where 20% of the grapes were picked early, having lower sugar and higher acids. 60% of the grapes picked when you would expect them to be, and the remaining 20% picked late providing a partial Amarone effect with concentrated flavors. Once fermented and blended back Kiley achieves an amazing complexity. He makes wines that I want to drink and I see him as a raising Rockstar winemaker who really gets his region and vineyard.
2Hawk’s Tasting room is worth the drive just to see it, the wine is a bonus. The tasting room is constructed with reclaimed products from across the country including:
- Mushroom board recovered from a mushroom farming operation in Pennsylvania.
- Grapevine trimmings and rocks from the 2hawk site.
- A barn in Mercer County, Pennsylvania.
- Colored wine bottles rescued from local dumpsters.
- A brewery built in 1867 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
- A wooden granary located in the Cowhead Valley of Northeastern California.
- The two round cupolas were taken from a grocery store in Ohio.
- And so many more.
I Loved everything about 2Hawk Vineyard and Winery. The people, the vines and vineyard practices, the wines and innovative wine styles. If you are anywhere near 2Hawk in Medford Oregon, you owe it to yourself to go and experience how their attention to detail, and how no detail has been overlooked.