The tasting room at Hammersky Vineyards and Inn is currently sharing samples from their all Estate 2010 vintage: four reds, and then a second line called Naughty Princess. Right away I was wondering about that second label, and owner/wine blender Doug Hauck said that he designed the line for his dental office staff that wanted an affordable wine, and for their own $99 club wine that included wines with names like “Innocent” Sauvignon Blanc and “Guilty” Cabernet.
During our interview Hauck asked, “Why can’t wine be high fashion? The eclectic boutique hotel is what I want Hammersky to represent…If I was Prada what would my wine look like and feel like…” and he designed his labels based on that vision.
The HammerSky Vineyards campaign included looking at boutiques of the world, and what their marketing looked like. The spirit world uses sexy branding, why not the same for wine? Hauck feels that their marketing makes it accessible to the masses in “the high level.” So Hauck did photo shoots, and a video campaign to achieve something interesting and completely different then what you’ve seen in the past.
Secret Weapon Number Two: A sexy print and video campaign.
“I like creating, film, video, dentistry, wine…” Hauck continued. Which left me to wonder what hasn’t Hauck done? Secret Weapon Number Three is Hauck himself. He started with USC business school, then got a film degree at UCLA, worked for Ralph Lauren, then as a Bloomingdales buyer, before going back to school for his sciences and then UOP dental school – seemingly in a step towards the family business as they’re all doctors.
So Hauck graduated from dental school at age 30, opened his first office in Beverly Hills and began treating several celebrity clients. “Dentistry is networking, making film deals in the operatories, connecting directors and producers” Hauck said. So he produced a few films, raised $16 million on the last one, went to Italy five times for filming… during this time he and his wife Kim were buying and selling properties, about ten in total, and this property, that we’re in now, was one of them.
Kim Hauck is our Secret Weapon Number Four: She has created a wedding venue like no other in Paso Robles with the lush grounds, their own sparkling wine and private accommodations for wedding guests in their near 100-year old Inn.
Moving into the winemaking world, Hauck knew he needed to have a property with older vines, be located on the wine trail, with a water source. He then “out-bid the neighbors.” Seven years ago Hauck was “the LA guy that got the prime jewel.” But instead of retiring early as his friends thought, Hauck slept in a tent while they remodeled the Inn (the former owner was quite petite, about 4 feet tall, and had customized the home for her height.)
HammerSky wine is served at all of their estate weddings, and the Naughty Princess line helped as they now have a white and a sparkling for those very necessary wedding toasts. The weddings parties serve to bring in groups of people that then have “a moment of experience.” So people have either attended a wedding, seen the winery online or in the news, and they want to come to take in the full live experience themselves.
Those that can’t make it in, several nice restaurants in Orange County (where Hauck practices dentistry three days a week) and Los Angeles are carrying HammerSky and Naughty Princess.
In conclusion I thought that even if Hauck were to morph yet again, as he has some attractive offers to buy or to partner, he said that he will keep the label. Hard to get un-bitten by the wine bug isn’t it?
HammerSky Estate Wine Tasting
Aromas and Flavors separated by ;
2010 Naughty Princess Viognier
Pear, cantaloupe, honeydew, apricot, floral; sweet honeydew, cool grass, pleasant for poolside.
2010 Naughty Princess “Innocent” Sauvignon Blanc
Light and citrusy, grapefruit, Brie; apple, butter, more citrus, lemon, clean finish, good with shellfish.
2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
100% HammerSky Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Fig, dark fruit, cherry, plum, dusty, tobacco, wood, floral, port-like qualities; somewhat tight but not after 5 minutes in glass, fruit forward, sweet and floral, earth, tannic yet a nice softly balanced finish.
2010 Party of Four
47% Merlot, 30% Petit Verdot, 12% Malbec, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon
Plum, tart cherry, bay leaves in beef stew, stewed fruits, jammy; cedar, dry, tannic, pepper, opens nicely and easy to drink…maybe with pasta?
2010 Red Handed
100% HammerSky Estate Merlot
Smooth, rich and silky, dusty black cherry, roses, strawberry, cracked pepper; bright cherry, lively, earth, perfumy, supple tannins, balanced finish.
100% HammerSky Estate Zinfandel
Earth, dry, chocolate, leaves, white pepper, smoky, leather; cherry, nice palate feel, pepper, smooth drinker.
2008 Open Invitation
57% Merlot, 36% Zinfandel, 7% Petit Sirah
Sweet but not sugary; pepper, chocolate, red fruit, tobacco, vegetal notes, earth, brown sugar, maple; a bite of cherry, spice, basil, full body, smooth and approachable.