Estates represents a continuation of the Smith & Hook tradition
of excellence in winemaking. The Hahns own over 1,400 acres of
vineyards in Monterey County. Grapes from the different vineyards
vary in character and style. With such versatility, we can create
supple, accessible wines.
For some time, Nicky dreamed of the day when he and his family
could produce such wines bearing his name on the label. That time
arrived in 1991, with the introduction of Hahn Estates. The Hahn
Estates Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon were well received, with
their attractive prices and eye-catching labels. In German, "Hahn" means "rooster," and
for this reason, a rooster embelishes the Hahn Estates label. We
introduced the Hahn Estates Merlot soon after, and it quickly became
our best-selling varietal. In 1993 we added an interesting wine
to the line-up, Cabernet Franc. It's a lesser-known red wine, but
it is extremely easy to enjoy. In 1998, Hahn Meritage was introduced
and was an immediate success story!
The Smith Ranch was a horse ranch for generations, while to the
south, the Hooks raised cattle. We discovered these ranches in
a search for the ideal place to grow Cabernet Sauvignon. The climate
along the western slopes of the Santa Lucias was perfect, and the
ranch had a beautiful view of the Salinas Valley. So in 1974, we
purchased the two ranches and established the Smith & Hook
Winery on the old Smith Ranch.
We made our first Cabernet Sauvignon in 1979 and quickly developed
a reputation for excellence. Smith & Hook Cabernet has won
gold medals at all the prestigious judgings, including the California
State Fair, the Orange County Fair, the Los Angeles County Fair,
the San Francisco Fair, and the West Coast Wine Competition. 1986
marked the first vintage of Smith & Hook Merlot. It was an
overnight hit, and the winery produces more each year to meet the
growing demand. The Masterpiece Edition of Smith & Hook Cabernet
Sauvignon began in 1992. Special lots of wine were selected and
bottled separately in an innovative, silk screened bottle. In 1996,
we expanded the Masterpiece program to include a limited release
of Smith & Hook Chardonnay. Nicky Hahn was intrigued by an
unusual white wine called Viognier (ve-oh-nay), and we decided
to graft some vines over to this varietal in the early 1990's.
The winery made its first Smith & Hook Viognier in 1995, and
it has since become a very trendy wine.