Here are answers to our most frequently asked questions.
Want to know more? Join us for a tasting at the winery and hear all about us while tasting exceptional wines.
How many different wines do you make?
We currently make 4 Pinot Noirs, 2 Pinot Noir Rosés (one sparkling), and a Blanc de Noir. We also produce 2 Pinot Gris (one reserve), 2 Chardonnays (one reserve), A big red blend (100% Oregon grapes), The Whale (big red), and a Port.
How many acres do you farm? Are your wines all estate grown?
At our estate LIVE certified vineyard we farm 50 acres, Pinot Noir in 8 different clones, Pinot Gris, and 4 acres of Chardonnay in two different clones. For our big reds, we source our grapes from the most esteemed vineyards in Walla Walla, OR, and the Rogue Valley, OR.
Why only Pinots? Why no Cabs or big reds?
Our estate is incredibly well suited to grow the queen of grapes, Pinot Noir, and other cold weather varieties such as Pinot Gris and Chardonnay.
Two years ago, we unveiled the Hawks Attack, a big red blend of Cabernet, Merlot, and sometimes a bit of Syrah. We source this Oregon-grown fruit from warmer localities (such as the Rogue Valley and the Walla Walla or Rocks District in eastern Oregon) to make wines for our guests who enjoy big reds.
Do you sell Ponte or Bottaia wines here? Why not?
We do not sell our California wines at Hawks View Winery, but you can buy them directly at Pontewinery.com and Bottaiawinery.com. Wine Club members enjoy reciprocal benefits including discounts and complimentary tastings.
What Clones do you grow?
We grow the following PN clones: 115, Dijon, Wädensville, Pommard, 667, 777, Hanzell, and Coury. We also grow Chardonnay clones Eden and 76.
How long have you been around?
Hawk View Vineyard was planted in 1991 and the winery was built in 2007 and opened to the public in 2009. We purchased the winery in 2017.
How many cases/bottles do you produce?
We currently produce 10,000 cases. We are a boutique winery.
Why are Oregon wines so expensive?
Pinot Noir is extremely difficult to grow properly and requires an incredible amount of hand labor. Production yields are very low compared to Cabernet or Merlot, sometimes less than half. Suitable barrels are $1,000 each and the winemaking talent required to ferment, age, and blend the wine is also very pricey. We are convinced our wines are fairly priced given their quality. They offer far better value than equivalent quality French wines.
Why don't you age your wines longer?
We age our Pinots an average of one year in the barrel and 3-12 months in the bottle. Further barrel aging would not be beneficial for our target flavor profile. These wines do age well in the bottle and we look forward to enjoying them a decade from now or longer.
What kind of barrels do you use? How old are they?
We use mostly French oak barrels with a few American oak barrels thrown in for flavor. Most of our vintages are aged in 20% new barrels, with the remaining 80% in 2-5-year-old barrels. After 5 or 6 years when they stop contributing oak goodness to the wine, we sell our barrels or use them to age Port.
Do you sell your barrels?
We occasionally sell our neutral barrels. Inquire with our manager to see if we have any available.
When do you harvest?
We harvest mid-September, depending on weather conditions and ripeness of the fruit.
How is your Rose made? Sparkling? Carbonic? Port?
Please visit the winery and Winemaker Don Crank III will explain in person…
What changes can we expect in the next couple of years?
2020 we revealed a new tasting room, rooftop members-only terrace, and expanded the lawn space to include an area appropriate for children and pets. In 2021 we will break ground on a new storage building to age our wines for a longer period here at the winery, without relying on third party storage.
Do you buy or sell grapes?
Hawks View exclusively sold grapes from 1991 to 2007, when the Tasting Room was opened. In the past, Hawks View also sourced grapes from California (Santa Lucia Highlands - coastal climate) and Washington. After our purchase Hawks View focuses exclusively on Oregon grapes. We sell any surplus grapes to high end Pinot producers. We also purchase a small amount of grapes from the Rogue Valley (and the Rocks or Walla Walla Districts in Eastern Oregon) to produce a bolder red.
Why only Pinot, why no Cabernet?
Hawks View Vineyard and the Willamette Valley climate offer ideal growing conditions for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris. East facing slopes protect vines from summer heat, and moderate elevation ensures optimal ripening. Full-bodied red wines generally require grapes produced in a warmer climate with a longer growing season. We do produce big reds, such as The Whale, the more affordable Hawk Attack, and a soon to be released 100% Syrah. These grapes come from other vineyards in Oregon.
What's the difference between wine made in steel, oak, concrete?
All our wines are fermented in steel, with whites and rosés being bottled right away. Reds are moved to oak barrels for aging. We also will make some wine using concrete fermenters which add minerality and character to delicate reds like Pinot Noir.
Do you distribute? Why not?
We do not distribute our wines. They are only available at the winery, and through the wine club and online. We are also featured in a small number of local restaurants, mostly as a convenience to our wine club members.
Are your vines grafted?
About half of our vines are "own rooted" and half are grafted on resistant rootstock. The own rooted vines may eventually succumb to root-borne diseases and will have to be replanted. The grafted vines will live long lives. In the decades to come we expect that our whole vineyard will be grafted unto resistant rootstock.
What clones do you use and why?
We have 8 different clones that produce different combinations of flavor, aroma, yield, and early or late ripening. Having multiple choices gives our winemaker lots of flexibility to produce different wines, some light and elegant, and some bolder and powerful.
Why don't you sell California grown wines anymore?
The Pontes have chosen to keep Hawks View an Oregon Winery where all 100% of the grapes are grown, and 100% of the wine is made in here in Oregon. The previous owners sourced from multiple states, but we want to keep it local.
Tell me about your California Winery (Ponte)
Ponte Winery is a medium size direct to consumer winery producing 25,000 cases per year, placing it amongst the smaller wineries in California. It is roughly the size of Stoller, Ponzi or Domaine Drouhin here in the Willamette. We grow grapes on 200 acres compared to 50 acres here. We also own and operate a 100% estate and 100% Italian variety winery called Bottaia. For more information visit pontewinery.com and bottaiawinery.com
What is so special about Chehalem Mountains?
Hawks View is located in the southeasten half of the appellation. Our soils are Laurelwood which impart bright red fruit flavors to our Pinots.
Geologically, Lava flows which formed the Columbia River Basalts 5-15 million years ago are the basis of the well-drained red soils concentrated in the southeastern Chehalem Mountains. The deep silt and clay is underlain by gravel and fractured basalt. Dark grey parent material has weathered in place, creating soils stained rust red by iron oxide.
Then, powerful winds scoured sediment from the surrounding landscape during the last Ice Age. This silt was deposited on the northeast flank of the Chehalem Mountains, weathering into the youngest of our major soil types. These soils are called "loess." They are fine grained and light in color.
Do you bottle in large format?
Yes, some of our wines are occasionally bottled in magnums (2 regular bottles capacity) but we can also bottle much larger bottles, up to Imperial size (6 bottles capacity) by special request. The larger bottle can be engraved, and should be opened after several years of aging to celebrate a very special occasion.
Tell me about your Winemaker
Don Crank III has 19 years of experience making high end Pinot Noir. Starting at Panther Creek Cellars and Montinore Estate, plus a temporary stint as a brewer at Golden Valley Brewers, he later became Head Winemaker Master at Willamette Valley Vineyards, and more recently Red Winemaker for A to Z Wineworks. He listens to Jazz on his old-fashioned record player while he makes our wines. He's probably also addicted to espresso (like Claudio), but will probably deny it if you ask.
Do you do events or Weddings?
We only do special events to promote and sell our wines, as well as a variety of Wine Club member exclusive events. We do not host weddings at the winery in deference to our residential neighbors.
Can I customize my Wine Club order?
Yes, you may do so online prior to the shipment.
When was the vineyard planted?
The vineyard was planted in 1991 and 1997, and more recently a 5 -acre block was planted in 2019.
Who owns the big house above?
The Kemp family who bought the vineyards and built the winery owned the house until last year when it was sold to a prominent local family.
Where did the Kemps go?
AJ Kemp has relocated his family to Bend where he is pursuing new interests.
What's the blend in the Whale?
One barrel of our most powerful Pinot Noir, and one barrel of our favorite Syrah. Thar she blows!