11 questions with Hart 2 Hart Vineyards; visit them at Sample the Sierra Saturday
Editor’s note: Everhart Cellars and Hart 2 Hart Vineyards, located in Pilot Hill, California, will participate in Sample the Sierra on Saturday. Lake Tahoe Action and Tahoe Daily Tribune recently checked in with Sherrie and Jim Everhart, owners, and winemaker Dominic Mantei to learn about their business. Check them out, among other vendors, this weekend. Learn more by visiting http://www.hart2hartvineyards.com.
How many years has your winery been in operation?
We opened our Vineyard Estate Winery in June 2013, with a Tasting Room, Wedding Event Venue, and Vacation House.
The following year we launched the Everhart Cellars label, produced at our winery with the 2013 vintage. However, wines have been made from our Estate Pilot Ridge Vineyard since 2011 under the Hart 2 Hart label.
How would your best customer describe your wines?
“ I like them all!” Delicious, rich, smooth, balanced and consistent.
What is the most challenging aspect of running a successful boutique winery?
Keeping the balance and momentum going with all aspects of the business essential to success — marketing, customer service, events, wine club, lodging, and winemaking to create an exceptional experience for our customers.
Along with Mother Nature’s hand in the process, every year does bring something new.
What is the best part about owning/working for a winery?
Owner: The wine business is romantic as a dream, however the reality is a lot of work, which we could not do without our family, friends and community.
We are known for our gracious and happy hospitality, which is created by our wonderful winery team. Creating that experience, that place, that fun, that wine enjoyed is the best reward.
Winemaker: I love creating and developing a product that I’m able to share with others.
What is the one bit of advice you would share with a wine novice?
Drink what you like and be open to try new wines, venture out and explore wine country. The experience will shape your knowledge and memories.
What wine is your winery best known for?
Cabernet Sauvignon. We have seven different Cabs, vintages 2011 to 2014. Each tastes wonderfully unique. We do an event several times a year, where you can taste them side-by-side in a vertical tasting. The Cabernet grapes come from our Pilot Ridge Vineyard, and based on the vintage, weather, harvest conditions, and barrel, we get a unique wine, each amazingly different and wonderful.
We also have some great and unique field blends, with fun creative labels such as Whitewater Red, Happy Zin, Romantique Harmony and Classic 61.
What’s your best tip when it comes to wine tasting?
If you find something you love — be sure and stock up; boutique wineries often sell out of their small lots fast.
What do you see trending in the wine industry right now?
What is unique about the region your wines are created in?
The American River area of El Dorado County has a wonderful Mediterranean climate, rocky soils, steep hillsides and one of the largest elevation ranges for growing wine grapes anywhere in the world. These factors contribute to naturally inhibit yields, which allows very high quality in most grapes planted here. We can grow the largest variety of wine grapes at very high quality of anywhere in the world.
What’s your favorite wine?
Owner: It depends on the day and what I’m eating. “The Reserve” Everhart Cellars Cabernet is fabulous! I love pairing our wine blends with specific types of food, such as our Italian blend “Bella Lynda” with pasta, “Classic 61” a Tempernillo Grenache blend with Paella or any Spanish cuisine. We now have so many blends and varietals that you can find a wine that will pair perfectly with just about any food.
Winemaker: Vueve Cliqout yellow label has been my go-to over the years. Of the wines I make, I’d say “The American” Cab from Everhart Cellars.
Where do you find inspiration for your wines?
Owner: The grapes; we like to bottle what we grow, because we know our vineyards were farmed to create the best quality. Our Pilot Ridge Vineyard we call the “spice rack” has over 40 varietals, which gives us a vast number of varietals to create unique field blends.
Winemaker: The land, or terroir. Walking a vineyard site is always my initial inspiration. I like to make wines that best represent the place, its dirt, steepness, exposure, its struggle to exist in the elements!