Get the Dirt about Halcon Vineyard from winemaker Paul Gordon

29 Jun

HalconPaul1. What was your first vintage year? 2009

2. How many cases do you make per vintage? Around 1400 from vintage 2014.

3. Do you have a Tasting Room? No tasting room. We can arrange vineyard visit (and tasting) or tasting at winery (in SF). Contact through

4. If not you, who is your winemaker? Combination of myself (Paul) and Scott Shapley.

5. How did you get your start in the winemaking business? Got seriously into wine, which led to producing (with a group of friends) a barrel of 2004 and 2005 Syrah at the Crushpad in SF. From there it escalated to planting a vineyard in 2005.

6. What wine made you want to become a winemaker/start your own winery? A 1985 Haut Brion started the process then a bottle of 1999 Chave Hermitage sealed the deal.

7. What varietals do you work with? Which varietal/wine is your favorite to make? Why? At Halcón Vineyard there is predominately Syrah planted with a little Viognier (for coferment with Syrah) plus 2 acres of Grenache and 1 acre of Mourvedre. We work with Marsanne/Roussanne for whites, Petite Sirah and, as of 2014, Pinot. Syrah is my first love, and our flagship wine. I find the sauvage qualities of Syrah to be fascinating. But appreciate a good Pinot/Burgundy.

HalconVineyard8. What vineyards do you source from? Why? If estate, why did you choose the spot you’re in? We planted our estate vineyard to mainly Syrah due to the schist soils and a climate that is remarkably similar to Cote Rotie. We are committed to the cool, rocky, coastal conditions of Mendocino. Only source from truly world-class vineyards.
Our Marsanne/Roussanne comes from the famed Alder Springs vineyard, which has very similar conditions to Halcón – 2200ft elevation, hillside, very cool.
The Petite Sirah comes from Theopolis Vineyards, a site that previously provided grapes to Carlisle. A challenging site on the edge for ripening of Petite.
In 2014 our Pinots come from Oppenlander – a very cold, dry-farmed location just a few miles from the coastal town of Mendocino – and Wentzel – a hillside location that has produced some top quality wine from Copain, etc.

9. What type of oak treatment do you use?  Minimal new oak (none on our Grenache/Mourvedre). When we use new oak we use 500L puncheons, which impart very subtle oak flavors.

HalconLabel10. What do you love about your winemaking region? What makes it different special? Mendo combines rocky hillsides and a very cool climate. Spring is particularly cold (often cooler than OR), which pushed back budbreak and ultimately pick dates. The critical last month of ripening is in mid-September thru mid-October when temps typically peak in the 70s.

11. What’s the story behind your name/label? The high point of the vineyard property is Hawk Butte. This name had been taken (by a vineyard owned by Bink/used by Copain) so we used the Spanish equivalent – Halcón is Spanish for hawk.

12. What’s the one thing you wish someone had told you about the wine business before you started your own winery? This only thing I can think of – it takes time! Only one vintage a year, vineyards take time to establish (especially ones as marginal as ours). Customers are attracted one glass at a time.

13. What do you love about small-lot winemaking? Love the connection with nature, the rhythm of the vineyard.

14. Do you still have a day job? If so, do you mind sharing what it is? Yes. I am CTO for Blink/CarCharging, which operates a network of charging stations for electric vehicles.

For more information about Halcon Vineyards, please visit their website sort follow them on FACEBOOK.

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