If you’re not making a mess, maybe you’re not making wine…
We have been growing grapes and farming in the Temecula Valley since 1973 on our property, which is one of the oldest continuously producing vineyards in Temecula. Much of our vineyard was planted and farmed by the Hart family. Since our vineyard is older and trellised in California sprawl, cane or head pruned, our vineyards naturally crop lower than many of the younger vineyards in the valley, which contributes to the intense varietal intensity in our estate produced wines.
Founder Joe Hart is at the winery nearly every day and is still involved with all aspects of the business, as he has been since our founding. Jim and Mike Hart, if not in the winery, can often be found in the vineyard, working with the many seasonal laborers who do much of the vineyard work.
We practice minimal deficit irrigation and intentionally prune and manage our vineyards to control crop yield and fruit quality. Although not certified sustainable, we practice low impact farming by minimizing the use of herbicides and fertilizers and by employing hand weed control and covering crops to keep the vineyard healthy. We work to control and manage canopy to optimize fruit quality. Any fruit that we purchase is sourced from growers who farm to our standards, and we work to source fruit from interesting or unique vineyards when possible.
This includes what we feel is one of the most interesting vineyards in Southern California, which is sited on rocky, volcanic soils at 2400 ft. elevation in the coastal foothills west of Temecula. This unique vineyard is farmed by the the Wayne Gouvion family, (who we have been working with for over 15 years) and produces wines of deep color and subtle intensity. We believe we have the prime example of a winery/grower relationship that allows us to produce some of the highest quality wines in Southern California.
Head winemaker Jim Hart initially learned winemaking from family patriarch Joe Hart. Jim has a post graduate certificate in Winemaking from U.C. Davis and had been making wine in Southern California since 2005, but has been involved with the vineyard and winemaking since his childhood. We believe that quality wines come from quality fruit and focus much of our attention to the vineyard and to working with our growers to source only the best quality fruit from the premier vineyards in the area.
We have invested our money in state of the art winemaking and lab equipment necessary to produce our wines. All harvest decisions are made by the winemaker who personally walks and samples every block of vines to make the final harvest decision. We try and pick all of our vineyards at sugar and ripeness levels appropriate to the varietal. Our reds are aged in a minimum of 1/3 new oak: either French, European or American, depending on the stylistic goals of our winemaker. We regularly enter our wines in competitions and have numerous awards every year since our inception that attest to the quality of our wines.
We were the fourth winery to open in Temecula after we purchased our property in 1973 and opened our winery in 1980. Today, we are the oldest winery still owned by a founding member in the Temecula Valley. Founding Winemaker Joe Hart is still a fixture at the winery and is much involved with all aspects of the business including consulting daily with son Jim, who now oversees all winemaking. All of the family has been involved with the winery since its founding; all three sons Jim, Mike and Bill have worked at the winery at some point. Currently Joe, Jim, Mike and Jim’s wife Christine all work at the family business and will often be found pouring wine or conducting tours for visitors.