Food & Spirits: Rugged and teeming with natural beauty, the Santa Lucia Highlands vineyards of Hahn Estates/Smith & Hook Winery deserve to be protected. Hahn Estates founder Nicolaus (Nicky) Hahn recognized this two decades ago, when he first proposed the creation of the Santa Lucia Highlands (SLH) appellation.
Today, Nicky’s family, who still owns and operates Hahn Family Wines, makes stewardship of the land the top priority. The winery was recently the first in the Northern Central Coast area to be certified green by the Monterey Bay Area Green Business program. Last year, its vineyards attained Certified Sustainable status through the Sustainability in Practice (SIP) Vineyard Certification program. And the winery has completed a rigorous program to be certain it meets all regulations and program standards for the conservation of resources, prevention of pollution, and minimization of waste. In short, Hahn Family Wines does all it can to promote the three Es of sustainability: environmental health, economic visibility, and social equity.
This commitment is far-reaching because Hahn Family Wines now represents a broad portfolio of wines, including the ultra-premium estate wines of Lucienne and Hahn SLH Estate, the distinctive Hahn Estates Winery brand, Smith & Hook Wines, and Bin36 wines. Hahn also produces Huntington Wine Cellars from Sonoma County and Cycles Gladiator Wines from the Central Coast appellations and California.
Located off the beaten path, the winery’s tasting room can be found up a steep, winding drive. The naturally lit tasting room reminds visitors that the beauty they seek is in the wines and the jaw-dropping vistas. Many a guest has asked if they can come back to be married, host a party, or attend a local chef’s dinner when they hear about the Vineyard House. The enchanting event venue seats up to 28 in a beautifully appointed dining room, equipped with a full kitchen. Doors open out to an expansive deck that celebrates the spectacular views of the Gavilan and Sierra de Salinas mountain ranges—and the vineyards that grow Hahn Family Wines.
What To Buy: ’06 SLH Chardonnay Vanilla, mushroom, toasted butter, soft cinnamon, nutmeg, guava, apricot $25
’06 SLH Pinot Noir Uncut wild berry, strawberry, hints of melted caramel, black cherry $29
’06 SLH Pinot Gris Soft, fruit, honeysuckle, pear blossom, citrus, ripe pineapple, hay, grass $20
Getting There: From Hwy 101, take Arroyo Seco Rd. Take Exit 301 at Soledad and head west. Turn right on Fort Romie Rd. Turn left on Colony Rd. Turn right on Foothill. Follow road 1.5 miles. The winery is on the left.
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