November 13, 2017
Tracey Hawkins and her husband Mitch grow wine grapes in Lake County California. It started decades ago when Tracey’s stepfather purchased a ranch there for a family retreat. Over the years, the various family members would take their turns at managing the ranch, each for a few years. When Tracey had her turn, she and her husband Mitch turned a dream into reality by starting a vineyard on the property in 2004 and have since expanded their vines. As we wound our way around the mountain, heading higher and higher to where the vines were planted, I could hear and see the love Tracey has for the land as she told me about the history of the ranch.
When we finally reached the top, Tracey and Mitch showed me around, starting with the vines and telling me about how they use bio-dynamic principles. They have a herd of Scottish Highland cattle which they harvest the manure from for fertilizer, prune with the moon cycles and utilize other natural ways to help the plants grow and flourish. They also have an owl box and hawk perches to invite the birds of prey in to help with the rodents.
We then got back in the truck and drove up even higher, bumping over the old road that led to the top basin where the rest of their vines were at an altitude of 3200 feet. They told me that at that height the grapes have very thick skins because they go through the heat of the day and the cold of the night. Those thick skins give their grapes a special complexity that adds to the flavor of their wines. As we were walking up the road Tracey stopped to pick up a sparkling rock off the ground, she told me it was a Lake County Diamond. Their property was full of the “diamonds” that were formed from silica and exist in the Earth on their land.
Once we had looked around at the vines we slowly crawled back down to the road and took off for the couple’s home back over in Napa County. Once we arrived we went down the hill to watch their girls and their friend in the riding arena. The girls are very active in the California High School Rodeo Association. The family travels the state on weekends, heading to events so the girls can compete in events such as barrel racing and goat roping. Watching the girls and event Tracey work on their beloved horses was a fun sight to see.
Spending the day with the Hawkins, learning about the history of the land that is so important to them, and about the vines that provide them with the fruit they use to make their smooth red wines was a joy. It was clear that this couple throws themselves into everything they do, whether it be their family, rodeo or wine grapes. I can’t wait to see where this young vineyard, Mitch, Tracey and their future FarmHers go from here.
Thank you to the Hawkin's family for sharing their story with FarmHer. This episode will air this Friday at 8:30 pm CT/9:30 pm ET with an encore on Sunday, only on RFD-TV. FarmHer is presented by Syngenta. Additional sponsors include Mahindra, Nationwide, and Vetericyn. Seach here to find your local channel.
December 07, 2017
November 27, 2017
Sign up to get the latest on sales, new releases and more …