Interview with the Winemaker: Doug Hackett

24th Oct 2016 @ 13:34 by

Our winemaker Doug Hackett is a really interesting and innovative guy who uses his considerable skills to make dynamite wines. We thought you might like to learn a little more about his style and vision for Spicy Vines, and what we can expect to taste in the next few years.

As you may already know, before coming to us, Doug was a founder and winemaker for two boutique wine brands. He’s a true artisan who has received more than 100 medals and 90+ point ratings throughout his winemaking career.

Doug’s passion has always been producing small lot artisan wines, never “controlling them” but instead shepherding them through the process, allowing them to develop into the best wines they can be.

This year, he has a few new things for us—a 2015 Pinot Noir recently bottled that Doug says will be a “phenomenal Pinot,” a Cabernet Sauvignon (he’s always wanted to do a large Cab), a Cabernet Franc, and a Sauvignon Blanc, which will be available in 2017. The other wines will be available in 2019.

The Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and the Sauvignon Blanc are sourced from a small AVA at the northern end of the Alexander Valley—Pine Mountain/Cloverdale Peak. It’s all mountainous and ranges from an elevation of 2,000 feet to 2,800 feet. Given Doug’s history of working with mountainside fruit (Syrah in the Sierra Foothills and mountainside Cabernet Sauvignon in Mendocino) he’s excited about this opportunity.

The gentleman who owns the land loves Spicy Vines and Doug’s winemaking philosophy, which will make our three-year stint on the land a great pleasure. Signing agreements for a minimum of three years is something Doug feels strongly about because it lets him really get to know the vineyard—its microclimates, etc.—to make the best wines possible. And that produces the greatest benefit for the grower, the winemaker, and the customer, says Doug.

There’s just one thing… since Doug is making less than 100 cases of the Cabernet Franc, that particular wine will be offered to wine club members only. We get a kick out of making special wines that only wine club members can taste. Most wineries don’t do that and it’s a nice perk for our biggest fans. This year we did a Carignan. Next year will be a “funky blend” and the year after that, will be the Cab Franc. Join us to get all the spicy perks!

Speaking of perks, another happy byproduct of Doug’s obsession with seeking out small eclectic AVAs and vineyards is our ability to price wines affordably. Instead of following the popularity of a region, Doug goes to where the grape grows best and, in many cases, can outdo what comes out of those more popular regions. Since we pay less for wines sourced from regions that aren’t necessarily trendy, we can carry the value through to all of you.

As Doug will tell you,

“What I bring to the table is the ability to find eclectic, privately owned vineyards where the grapes are phenomenal at a great value. That allows us to sell our wines at reasonable prices.”

When Doug’s not in the vineyard or in the process of creating beautiful wines, you may find him in the tasting room. Come see us sometime and get to know him better!

Adding Spice to our Life

13th Sep 2016 @ 13:32 by spicyvines

The story and success of Spicy Vines Winery would not be complete without the foundation laid by the remarkable late co-founder Anders Pederson.


Melissa Pederson, Anders’s mother and longtime Pleasanton realtor, raised Anders and his sister Kelly in Pleasanton, California. Anders was a person of conviction, despite having a vision impairment he set out to master and enjoy all things in his life. His enjoyment led to many accomplishments in his academics, athletic pursuits, international travels, and careers including the creation of Spicy Vines. Anders was a firm believer in trying new things and embracing life with a twist.

In November of 2015, Anders donated a kidney to his sister Kelly as they were a perfect match. While the transplant was a success to his sister, Anders unfortunately and tragically passed due to complications of the the surgery within a week of the operation. Anders’ generous gift surrounding his kidney donation will be remembered forever by his sister, family, and friends as he continues to remain an important part of their lives today.

The Pederson family created the Anders Pedersen foundation to support kidney transplant research.

Adding spice to his life

Anders was a determined and adventurous young entrepreneur who embarked on the journey of creating a spiced wine with co-founder Crystalyn Hoffman.

Upon the return of Crystalyn’s Europe travels, she described to Anders her insatiable craving for a German mulled wine. The two made a bet on whether there was a winery in America that produced spiced wines, despite all searches; Anders was unable to find a spiced wine company in the US and lost the bet. This reveal sparked a new goal for them, to replicate the wine and share it with the American wine industry.

Creating the perfect spiced wine recipe was no easy feat for Anders and Crystalyn alone, the kitchen of Anders’s mother, Melissa Pederson, could attest to that. Anders and Crystalyn sought help from professionals and scientists to assist them and in 2011, the inaugural bottled batch of Spicy Vines Original Spiced Red Blend was corked and bottled! Today, Spicy Vines has grown to become a boutique winery in downtown Healdsburg. What started as bet surrounding a silly little Spiced Wine has since evolved into a growing winery producing ultra premium (non-spiced) varietals and blends. As the winery has grown, Anders’ and Crystalyn’s original little Spiced Wine continues to serve as the company's flagship wine and reminder of how the Spicy Vines story all began. Anders always believed in the Spicy Vines dream he helped create and the team today strive to make the most in life as he did.

The New Mix: Spicy Sangria

6th Sep 2016 @ 17:52 by

On tap every day in our tasting room, you’ll find two batches of Sangria—one red and the other white. The white Sangria contains our Fleur de Spice, Spiced White Wine and the red contains our Original Blend, Spiced Red Wine.

The recipes vary daily since the person who opens the tasting room gets to choose that day’s offering. Always on ice, in this hot weather, a nice cool Sangria is the perfect tonic. Come on in and try one!

Unlike the Sangrias you typically get today, the original versions had spices in them. So when you incorporate our spiced wine into your recipe, you’re actually sipping something closer to the delicious original.

And there’s an added bonus. Once you’ve mixed up a batch of Sangria like the one below, it lasts about a week and a half because the added brandy and spices act as natural preservatives.

So whether you pay us a visit (and we hope you do) or decide to stay home and make your own batch of Sangria, we say Salut! Enjoy!

Buy Original Blend Spiced Red Wine

Spicy Red Sangria


• 2 bottles Spicy Vines Original Blend

• 1 bottle of bubbly

• 1 can of flavored San Pellegrino water or 1/4 bottle pink grapefruit soda

• 1/2 -1 bottle of ginger beer

• 1 cup of orange mango juice

•6 oz. St Germain (optional)

• Sliced strawberries, grapes, and/or oranges


Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and mix well. Refrigerate at least eight hours before serving. Serve over ice and garnish with a strawberry.

Buy Fleur de Spice, Spiced White Wine

Spicy White Sangria


• 2 bottles Fleur de Spice

• 1 bottle of bubbly

• 1 can of flavored San Pellegrino water or 1/4 bottle pink grapefruit soda

• 1/2 bottle of ginger beer

• 1 can of pineapple chunks with juice

•Sliced apples, grapes, white peaches or nectarines

• 1/4 cup of unfiltered apple juice

• 1 bottle coconut water

•4 oz. St Germain or pear liqueur (optional)


Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and mix well. Refrigerate at least eight hours before serving. Serve over ice and add fruit to your satisfaction!

Bacon Wrapped Fillet Mignon with a Syrah Blackberry Reduction Sauce

22nd Jun 2016 @ 12:48 by

A bacon wrapped fillet mignon with a Syrah blackberry reduction sauce to pair with our 2013 Dragon's Kiss - Syrah. Yumm!

We love to cook at Spicy Vines. We test, cook, taste, and adjust all of our recipes until we get them just right for our wine pairing. This is a great dish for your July, 4th celebration this year. If you ask us, nothing feels more American than good old fashioned steak and potatoes!

Don't have a bottle of 2013 Dragon's Kiss? Not a problem. Get one here before you begin.

Buy 2013 Dragon's Kiss Now


Fillet Mignon
  • 4 6oz fillets
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • Marinade
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 bottle 2013 Dragon's Kiss Syarh
  • Syrah Blackberry Reduction Sauce Ingredients
  • 1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 pints fresh blackberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 bottle 2013 Dragon's Kiss Syarh
  • salt and pepper to taste

  • Marinade Prep

    Pour the wine into a large bowl. Add the shallots, garlic, thyme, and rosemary leaves and gently stir to create a marinade. Place the fillets into the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

    Cooking Directions

    Fillet Mignon

    Remove the fillets from the marinade and pat dry with a paper towel. Season the meat with salt and pepper to taste and lightly coat with olive oil. Sear the meat in a hot cast iron skillet. Cook at 350 degrees until you reach the desired level. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the fillet. Allow the meat to rest 3-5 minutes before serving.

    Syrah Blackberry Sauce

    In a small saucepan, cook the shallots in olive oil. Add the blackberries and sugar, stirring continuously. Add the wine, stir some more, and turn the heat up to bring to a boil. Once the sauce has come to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow the sauce to simmer until the wine starts to thicken. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the sauce over the fillet mignon. Need another bottle of 2013 Dragon's Kiss to pair with your steak? Not a problem. Get one here.

    Buy 2013 Dragon's Kiss Now

    Risqué Ravioli

    25th May 2016 @ 17:11 by

    A lobster and roasted garlic ravioli in a fennel and chervil-infused sauce to pair with our 2013 Risqué Chardonnay.

    We love to cook at Spicy Vines. We test, cook, taste, and adjust all of our recipes until we get them just right for our wine pairing. For this ravioli, we had a little extra help from our chef on staff, Crystaln's mom Rita. She suggests having a bottle of Risqué Chardonnay chilled and ready for drinking while you wait for the sauce to reduce.

    Don't have a bottle of 2013 Risqué Chardonnay? Not a problem. Get one here before you begin.

    Buy 2013 Risqué Chardonnay Now


    Sauce Ingredients
  • 2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
  • 2 white onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • 1 large orange, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup Risqué Chardonnay (save the rest for drinking)
  • Ravioli Ingredients
  • 6 lobster tails uncooked, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh fennel bulb; save fronds and upper stems
  • 2 tsp dried chervil
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 6 tbls butter
  • 1 large lemon, zest and juice
  • 2 large shallots minced
  • 6 cloves roasted garlic (see Prep for roasting instructions)
  • 48 wonton or egg roll wrappers
  • Parmesan cheese, shaved
  • Coarse black pepper ground to taste
  • Prep

    Zest and juice both lemons (juice from 1 lemon will be used for the sauce, juice/zest from the second lemon will be used for the ravioli). Juice the orange for the sauce. Chop celery, onions, and carrots for the sauce. Mince the shallots for the ravioli. Clip 8 small fronds of fennel and reserve for garnish. Then, finely chop 1/2 cup fennel for the ravioli. Brush a bulb of garlic with olive oil and roast in foil at 400F for 45 minutes. Use 6 cloves for the sauce.



    In a large pot, put 1 gallon of water, celery, onion, carrot, lemon juice, orange juice, peppercorn, thyme, parsley, garlic, bay leaves, white wine, and salt. Bring large pot to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Add lobster tails, and poach for 5 minutes. Remove the lobster tails. When cool, remove the lobster meat, chop, and set aside for the ravioli. Put the tail shells back into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce by half. Enjoy a glass of wine while the sause reduces. Strain the remaining liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a clean saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer the saucepan until you have 2-2.5 cups of sauce remaining. Add the cream, 2 tablespoons butter, 1.5 teaspoons lemon zest and season to taste. Remove the sauce from the heat and cover


    In a large saute pan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Saute the fennel, shallots, and roasted garlic until soft. Add the chopped lobster meat and saute for 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and remaining lemon zest to the pan, stir to incorporate, and let cool. On a flat surface, spread out 24 won ton wrappers and add 1 tablespoon of lobster filling into the center of each ravioli. Brush a little water on the outer rim of the won ton and top of a wrapper. Press gently around the filling and firmly on the edges to create a good seal. Give them a good pinch! Bring a large pan of salted water to boil. Drop the ravioli into the boiling water and cook for 30 seconds. Drain ravioli.


    Plate 3 ravioli in the center of each serving plate for an appetizer or 6 for a main dish. Add sauce. Shave parmesan onto ravioli. Freshly grind black pepper over top. Garnish with small frond of fennel. Enjoy with crusty artisan bread and a glass of wine.

    Don't forget to enjoy with a glass of 2013 Risqué Chardonnay. Make sure you have enough bottles for the sauce and for enjoying with dinner. You may also need an extra glass while you wait for the sauce to reduce.

    Buy 2013 Risqué Chardonnay Now

    Sunrise Mimosa: A Kiss of Sunshine On a Rainy Day

    7th Mar 2016 @ 14:43 by

    There’s nothing like a warm kiss of sunshine on your face while sipping on a glass of bubbly. This recipe is for all of us Californian’s swimming through the much-needed rain we’ve been getting this month. Here’s a little glass of sunshine to get you through.

    The Sunrise Mimosa is simply a delightful take on your standard mimosa recipe, and we can assure you that after one sip, you’ll be going bottomless… even if it is raining outside.

    This recipe has a hint of tasty chai that dances in your mouth with scrumptious deep red citrus flavors of blood orange. Our recipe is three parts bubbly (we love using Bodkin, a local sparkling Sauvignon Blanc) to one part Spicy Vines’ Original Blend and a dash of freshly squeezed blood orange juice.


    • 1 oz Spicy Vines Original Blend, chilled
    • 3 oz sparkling wine, chilled
    • 1 oz blood orange juice, freshly squeezed
    • 1Blood orange slice and/ or curl or blood orange peel


    Build in a Champagne flute, adding the blood orange juice last. To garnish, slice a thin sliver of one of your blood oranges and toss in your glass.


    You will love the beautiful pink color of this mimosa, a color that looks even more beautiful aside a charcuterie plate pairing made with sharp blue cheese, walnuts, wild honeycomb and fresh blood orange slices. Yum!

    Visit Us this Spring

    Look forward to this recipe and more in our new downtown Healdsburg tasting room located at 441 Healdsburg Avenue in Healdsburg, California, just a block away from the downtown square. Tasting room will be opening soon and will feature this recipe of our Sunrise Mimosa along with other wine cocktail libations such as, Queen Kitty The Ginger, a hypnotically delightful libation made with Spicy Vines’ Original Blend, ginger beer, grenadine and maraschino cherries, or try our classy, yet sassy, Chaitini, a beautiful martini inspired cocktail make with sake, ginger beer and chai simple syrup. Come visit us soon in our new tasting room and until then, keep sipping on a little sunshine amidst this beautiful rain we’re having.

    Spicy Vines' Chocolate Truffles

    10th Feb 2016 @ 11:13 by

    If you love chocolate and wine, these truffles are just the right dessert for you. In these truffles, chocolate is the dominant flavor, but you can taste the lovely hint of chai from our Original Blend signature spiced wine once the truffle begins to melt in your mouth. The addition of our Original Blend adds a bit of sweetness, spice depth of flavor to the truffles.


    • 120mL Spicy Vines Original Blend
    • 260 g Dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
    • 60 ml Heavy cream
    • 1 tbsp Butter
    • Cocoa powder, powdered cinnamon for rolling truffles
    • Salt crystals to sprinkle on top


    Place the chopped chocolate in a heat resistant bowl and set aside. In a small, heavy bottomed saucepan, combine wine and heavy cream. Bring the mixture just to a boil and remove from heat. Pour over chocolate pieces and let this sit for a few minutes, until the chocolate is melted. Add butter. Using a whisk, gently stir the until combined. You should get a thick and smooth ganache. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until completely set, about 2 hours.

    Using a melon-baller or a teaspoon, scoop out chocolate balls from the chilled ganache. Roll the balls between the palms of your hands quickly and roll the in cocoa powder and powdered cinnamon and store in refrigerator. Remove the truffles from the refrigerator and lightly sprinkle a few salt crystals over each. Let sit for 30 minutes before serving.

    This is a perfect February recipe to make your valentine. Pairs perfectly with a glass of our Spicy Vines Original Blend.

    Recipe: Spiced Texas Pulled Pork Sandwich

    19th Nov 2015 @ 16:12 by spicyvines

    Hey y’all! Happy Fourth of July! Looking for a new spicy recipe to show off during the fireworks tomorrow?

    How about a saucy sandwich prepared by one of our very own spicy vixens! Inspired by her Southern Texas roots, healthy Cali ways, and love for spiced wine– enjoy Jessica Choate’s delicious creation.


    For the Pork
    • 1 c Spicy Vines Original Blend
    • 4lbs Lean Organic/High quality Pork Shoulder or Loin
    • ¼ Onion chopped
    • 1 tbsp minced garlic
    • 1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
    • 1 tbsp fresh chopped basil
    • 1 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt
    • 1 step fresh crushed pepper
    • 2 tbsp liquid smoke
    • ½ cup water
    For the Sauce
    • 7½ cups Spicy Vines Original Blend
    • ¼ cup Finley chopped onion
    • 2 tbsp crushed garlic
    • 1 tsp crushed pepper
    • 2 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt
    • ½ cup bacon fat
    • ½ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
    • 18oz Organic Tomato Paste
    • 2 tbsp Liquid Amino
    • 5 tsp BBQ smoke house pepper seasoning (to your liking)
    • 12 oz water
    • ½ brown sugar (can add more to taste of your liking)
    • ¼ can beer
    For the Slaw
    • ½ Head of Cabbage finely shredded and/or chopped
    • 3 cooked beets shaved (I used the organic packaged Red Beets from Trader Joes)
    • ½ cup Apple cider Vinegar
    • ½ cup Spicy Vines Wine
    • ¼ cup Fresh Dill
    • 2 tbsp spoons Dijon Mustard
    • 1/3 cup Organic unprocessed Sugar
    For the Side
    • Hawaiian rolls


    Pork: Leave the fat for flavor or trim some off for the sauce. Place chopped onion in Crockpot (set to low) and the pork fat side down. Add all other ingredients on top and around the pork. Cover and leave for 12 hours!

    Sauce: With a medium to large saucepan, melt bacon fat on low heat. Add onion and garlic (slightly sauté before adding the tomato paste, water, wine, vinegar and seasonings). Lightly whisk and add sugar and beer. Cool, cover, and place in fridge overnight. Heat and stir when ready to serve (add more beer to your liking).

    Slaw: Add all ingredients in a large bowl and mix.

    Cut buns in half. Add spoonful of pork, slaw, and topped with sauce. Serve with favorite fresh salad, fruits or veggies!

    *Serves: 24 Sliders