Dry Creek Valley Winery: Spotlight Hawley Winery
With over 16 years of experience growing for some of California’s most influential wineries including Clos Du Bois and Kendall Jackson, where he was their chief winemaker, John Hawley decided to stake out on his own in 1996. He bought some barrels and fermenters, bonded his garage, borrowed a press, and with a lot of help from friends and family, and considerable toil, became a small wine producer.
He eventually built Hawley Winery on his Bradford Mountain estate overlooking Dry Creek Valley where the mixture of red-clay soil at this estate’s higher elevations in tandem with area’s diurnal temperature shifts — sun-drenched days and cool nights — consistently produces intensely flavored grape varieties with great structure and excellent characteristics for producing age-worthy wines.
Today, John and his two sons, Paul and Austin, grow ten acres of CCOF organic vineyards and produce small lots of unique wines from a variety of grapes. Together, their mission at Hawley Winery reflects a desire to create a family-run company that is both sustainable and environmentally-minded, with a focus on producing distinctive, hand-made wines that express the indelible terroir of this select corner of Sonoma County.
Even with all multiple hats John wears at Hawley, he still finds spare time to focus on his unique passion for falconry, training and rehabilitating falcons, hawks and other birds of prey to be his sentinels of the sky, watching over the vineyard as the grapes are ripening. If you’ve ever wondered what a 21st century Renaissance Man gentleman looks like, cast your eyes no further than John Hawley.
Hawley Tasting Room
Hawley Winery offers a pair of wine tasting experiences depending on the type of venue you crave. The first is out at the Hawley vineyard, an off-the-beaten path enclave for the adventurous of spirit where you can vertical or barrel tastings or peek in on the cold-soaked grapes. Since there is no formal tasting room on site, visits to the winery are by appointment only but the Hawleys have been known to be extremely accommodating with requests. The second tasting experience can be found in the comfort of their official tasting room, a relaxed setting located in Downtown Healdsburg where paintings by John’s wife, Dana Hawley, a locally renown artist who paints portraits of Dry Creek Valley, adorn the walls and where they pour their wines from behind a bar made from their old barrels. In both experiences, they embody the charming, family-run, no-frills, unpretentious wine-tasting experiences, you’ve come to expect here in Dry Creek Valley.
Hawley Official Tasting Room
Open Daily 11am to 6pm
36 North Street, Healdsburg CA. 95448
The Tasting Fee: $5 (refunded with purchase). Wines by the glass available.