"Grow the best grapes..... make the best wine!" As an avid collector of fine wines and rare vintages for over twenty years, Bob Hartwell eventually came to the realization that it was time to satisfy his dream of owning his own vineyard. In 1985, after thirty years of ownership success in the aerospace and plumbing industries, he now wanted to focus his energy in producing top quality wines...
"My idea from the start was quality before quantity at any cost …only the best grapes would be good enough. Deciding that it should be in California, I began an extensive search for the optimum growing location for my new venture. With the help of a wine consultant, I considered areas starting in Santa Barbara, up through the Central Coast to Carmel, and all the way to the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. My obsession, to produce the best quality Cabernet Sauvignon possible, made the final decision to locate in the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley extremely easy."
"While Cabernet Sauvignon grows well in many appellations, in specific appellations it is capable of rendering wines of uncommon depth, richness, concentration, and longevity. Through all of the wine history in California, the best Cabernets have come from the Napa Valley. Here, in the Stags Leap District, are the perfect climate and soil conditions for growing the best possible Cabernet grapes."
"It was here that I purchased from Harry Sees of Sees Candy the now Hartwell Vineyard estate. The estate consisted of undeveloped mountain hillsides and valleys filled with oak trees where long-haired Scottish Highland cattle now roam keeping the wild grasses trimmed short. Nestled at the top of this estate is the main residence with one-acre vineyard in the adjacent meadow. This vineyard was planted with the Bosche Clone budded from Grace Family Vineyards, yielding its first harvest in 1990. After 22 months in new French Oak barrels, I released my first Cabernet Sauvignon which was an instant success, establishing the tradition for quality and style that I was hoping for."
"With the fabulous reviews and customer acceptance of our first one acre harvest of Hartwell Cabernet Sauvignon in 1990 we decided to expand the vineyard by planting a few acres of various Cabernet Sauvignon clones. The acreage was designated "Sunshine" and we harvested our first Sunshine Cabernet Sauvignon in 1993. Again we continued to receive fantastic reviews and we were most pleasantly encouraged by the fact that we were developing an avid following right from the start, making it an easy decision to build our new hillside winery and caves. The steep sloping hillsides made it inviting to dig into the hillside and build the caves, which create the ideal natural climate and 60 Degree F temperature without the need for additional air conditioning. Connected directly to the caves is the new winery. Special thanks to my wife, Blanca, for her involvement in the design of the new winery. With her help, construction of the new facilities began in 1997 and was completed in time for the 1999 harvest."
"In celebration of the completion of our new winery, we have decided to add a new variety to the Hartwell Estate collection. Our first Merlot, from the 1999 harvest, comes from a special corner of our vineyard. This wine was produced from exceptional fruit borne on seven year old vines, and will be aged in barrels until mid-year 2001. Anticipated release is late 2001."
Mario Bazan of Mario Bazan Vineyard Management has 27 years of Vineyard experience in the Napa Valley