How did this all come about? Bob was thumbing through the course catalog for an elective to round out his schedule for his Junior year at Ohio State University and there it was, Wine Appreciation, and they would give him credit towards graduation for drinking wine in class. He's in! He persuaded his roommate to take the class as well, so they spent the quarter vicariously sipping their way through the cellars of France and Italy mostly, with a few Germans and Spanish thrown in for good measure. They had a bar in their off campus house which they covered in wine bottle labels that they carefully peeled off of their favorites so that they could remember the good ones. And so it began.
Some years later Bob found himself in the Hunter Valley of Australia where Syrah (they call it Shiraz) attains a remarkable degree of perfection due to the hot and dry climate and the quite sophisticated viticulture skills of the natives. A friend had invited Bob to spend the weekend at the vineyard/winery where he was a part owner, and it was harvest season. There were about 40 mostly young people out in the rows picking grapes and few hands on deck in the winery doing the processing. Bob thought the place looked like Valhalla and enthusiastically joined in the so-called work and they had an outstanding and inspiring good time. On the ride back to Sydney Bob realized that his life's most important epiphany had just occurred and someday he will do this.
Bob lived in Europe for eight years where the Brits and Belgians taught him how to drink, properly. Two more years in New Zealand exacerbated his fondness for crisp whites. Multiple visits to South Africa, Tuscany, Burgundy, Sicily, Bordeaux, US West Coast, Finger Lakes, Veneto, and the Loire confirmed the obvious, Bob had a calling in life, so he gave in.
Bob moved to the heart of American wine growing, Healdsburg, California, took courses at University of California Davis and Santa Rosa College, worked for a grower of organic Pinot Noir in the Russian River Valley, and did lots of research. In 2007 he bought a farm in the Lehigh Valley and began turning the cornfields into vineyards with the help of soil and vineyard design consultants. Ten years later the vineyard is mature and the 14,000 vines produce 25 tons of fruit annually, enough to make 16,000 bottles of wine. Admittedly small scale, but Hackett Wine is about quality, not quantity. The winery is built, licensed, and operational. Bob, and his family adore this lifestyle, immersed every day in nature and its relentless cycle; outside most of the day and surrounded by the most amazing colors and light. You are most welcome to visit to taste the wines, prune some vines, pick the grapes, there is always something going on.
“Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.”
― Ernest Hemingway