Hafner Vineyard

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In the Cellar

The Art of Winemaking

The center of any winery is its cellar. This is where grapes become wine. Fermentation, aging, bottling, storage and the occasional tour all take place here in our winery in what is actually a very compact area. Even after 35 years and a small increase in production and three additional wines, our cellar continues to be a very efficient and practical layout for Winemaker Parke Hafner and his team.

New, advanced equipment may make the winemaker’s job easier, but it is hard work, attention to detail and commitment to quality that assure the best wine. Some of our cellar equipment (oak and stainless steel tanks, our German-made grape press and Parke’s handmade work bench) has been in service since 1982. While many wineries utilize new software to track movement of wines, we are small enough to do this the old fashioned way, on handwritten cellar cards, which give us a deep familiarity with each vintage.

Harvest is the most exciting time in the cellar. Doors 20 feet tall open onto the south pad where the tractors bring gondolas full of grapes straight from the vineyard. They are unloaded into a fruit sorter, then pumped into the winery and into the press. Grapes go from fruit to juice to wine in just a week. Stainless steel and oak tanks in the winery are used for storing wine. (To see a map, click here.) In the caves, we barrel age our wines for many months before they are bottled. (To read about our caves, click here.)

Twice a year, the cellar is taken over for the arduous task of bottling. Those days are particularly long, beginning at 6am and ending twelve (or more) hours later. Attention to detail and a fixation on cleanliness pay off as gallons become 750ml bottles, destined, after additional aging, for our patrons’ homes.

When starting a business, it is necessary to put in long hours and Parke and Sarah Hafner did just that. They lived above the cellar for seven years. A large window on the second floor looks down into the cellar. Kate’s crib was pushed next to it so that when she woke up, she could look down to see them working and they could see her. They eventually built a house just up the road on the property so are still close to the winery every day. When they are in the cellar today and look up at that window, it brings them great joy thinking of those early times.