Monday, July 28, 2014

7/28 Mitch and Tracey Hawkins, Hawk and Horse Vineyards

Mitch and Tracey Hawkins - Owners, Hawk and Horse Vineyards

Welcome to Hawk and Horse Vineyards. We are a small family-owned and operated ranch and vineyard estate located in the Red Hills AVA of Northern California. We take great pride in our farming practices which incorporate both organic and biodynamic methods. Additionally we are DEMETER BIODYNAMIC and CCOF Organic certified. Our wines are hand crafted in very small lots.

Mitch Hawkins
Mitch Hawkins was born on October 1, 1960 in Oakley, California. He grew up in a ranching family in California’s Delta region where his grandfather raised cattle and kept horses. As a boy, Mitch began working alongside his grandfather and learned about ranching and caring for the land.

After a successful bartending career in San Francisco’s East Bay, Mitch attended U.C. Berkeley where he completed a certificate program in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Studies. He was the director of Duffy’s, a substance abuse rehab clinic in Calistoga, for five years. When he met Tracey, his future wife, in 1998, Mitch had returned to his ranching roots and was running a Hanoverian horse ranch in Knights Valley. Tracey had just begun to manage the El Roble Grande Ranch property for her family. In 1999 Mitch and Tracey took over the daily operations of the ranch and began to plan the vineyard.

Mitch has studied wine grape growing extensively and is now an authority on Organic and Biodynamic wine grape farming. One of the things Mitch appreciates about biodynamic farming is the camaraderie of the biodynamic wine growing community. Mitch and Tracey are charter members of “Kids’ Table,” a Napa Valley-based biodynamic think-tank. Several prestigious Napa Valley wineries come to Hawk & Horse Vineyards for the ‘raw ingredients’ needed for biodynamic protocols – compliments of a small herd of Scottish Highlander cattle that Mitch and Tracey keep on the ranch. Mitch and Tracey also take pride in mentoring local youth in ranching, farming and vineyard and winery management.

Along with spending time with his family, Mitch enjoys ranching, farming, grilling and horseback riding on his dark bay Quarterhorse mare, Sandy Spark. He can most often be found in the vineyard where Red-tailed hawks scream their territorial cries.

Tracey Hawkins
Tracey was born in Fullerton, California on July 22nd, 1964. She grew up in Sonoma County, California, where, from a young age, she helped in the family's restaurant. Growing up in California's wine country, wine was a natural part of life. When the family purchased the 1,300 acre Lower Lake property which is now home to Hawk and Horse Vineyards, Tracey immediately resonated with the land and its rugged beauty.

Regular visits evolved and she and Mitch eventually began running the ranch and developing Hawk and Horse Vineyards with the support of their family. Tracey and Mitch work closely together in all aspects of wine production, from farming and harvest decisions to winemaking and cooperage. Tracey serves as Executive Winemaker, liaising with the winery's Consulting Winemakers and is involved in all the substantive winemaking decisions. She has had the opportunity to work with and be mentored by some of the finest winemakers in the industry.

Before starting Hawk and Horse Vineyards, Tracey worked in the wine industry for six years in sales and marketing. Tracey holds a degree in Creative Writing, summa cum laude, from San Francisco State University. She has also studied wine making through U.C. Davis and wine marketing at Sonoma State University.

In her spare time, Tracey enjoys spending time with her children, cooking, and writing poetry. She also competes in amateur rodeo and gymkhana events. Mitch and Tracey have three children whom they raise in close relationship to the land and the business they so love.

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