Interview with the Winemaker: Doug Hackett

24th Oct 2016 @ 13:34 by DANEEKA

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!