About Hawk and Horse Vineyards

By Lisa Rowlands

Located on the site of the historic El Roble Grande in the Red Hills American Viticultural Area, Hawk and Horse is now a modern winemaking facility set amongst four-hundred hectares of beautiful rolling hills and immaculately tended vine rows. Despite the property being lovingly restored and brought into the twenty-first century, it still retains the rustic, old world charm of a bygone era, a notion echoed by a workforce of local cowboys and girls whose commitment to and affinity with the land is a huge part of the winery’s success. The eponymous horses and red-tailed hawks share this ruggedly scenic landscape with a herd of distinctive Scottish Highland cattle, as well as bobcats, bears, wild boar and mountain lions.

Born out of the Hawkins and Boies families’ desire to make world class, terroir driven wines, Hawk and Horse Vineyards enjoys the best of Lake County’s clean air, rocky, red volcanic soils and unrivalled exposure to sunlight. At elevations up to six-hundred-and-fifty metres, the vines here experience intense daytime heat and significant diurnal temperature variation, hence the fruit develops thick skins, greater tannins and an intense flavour profile. These factors, together with the implementation from day one of 100% organic and biodynamic farming techniques, led to the winery’s immediate success, with its first vintage (2004) receiving high acclaim in international competition. Subsequent vintages have hence continued this trend and Hawk and Horse is now established amongst Lake County’s elite winemakers.

Since 1999, the day to day running of the ranch and winery, has been the concern of Tracey and Mitch Hawkins. A fraction over seven hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Petite Sirah thrive in unique conditions here, producing wines whose distinctive sense of place cannot be replicated elsewhere. Biodynamic farming is integral to Hawk and Horse’s winemaking philosophy, and vineyard preparations - of which cow excrement is the key ingredient - are a principal part of this practice. To this end, the strikingly beautiful Scottish Highland breed were specifically chosen.