Established in 2003, Hook & Ladder Winery, in the Russian River Valley, marks the next chapter in Cecil and Christine De Loach’s business endeavors after the sale of De Loach Vineyards to Boisset Family Estates. Their experience and history along with an eager grandson, Jason, who was learning how to make wine, was a key driver into starting a new venture. Jason grew up in the family vineyards and Russian River Valley winery dreaming about his opportunity to utilize the 100 planted vineyard acres the family-owned.
- Barrel Tasting
- Private Tours*
- Wine Club
- Scenic Views
- Outdoor Seating
- Picnic Area
- Kid Friendly
- Outdoor Games
- Gift Shop
- Wheelchair Accessible
- Large Groups OK
- RV/Bus Parking
- Event Space
Jason started in the industry at the bottom of the barrel. In the cellar, he learned the fundamentals of processing grapes, cleaning equipment while also working in the vineyard with his grandfather to understand the viticultural aspect of the business. After doing an internship in Chile and working several years at Balletto Vineyards, Jason returned to the family business and assumed winemaking responsibilities at Hook & Ladder Winery.
The Hook & Ladder label had been initially brought to life as part of a dessert wine label in the 1980s. The name pays homage to Cecil’s history as a firefighter in San Francisco while the “fortified wine” that was created under that label represented the stronger tastes of his coworkers at the fire department.
Situated south of the Russian River along Olivet Road, Burgundian-style wines have been a key component of their wine portfolio. The coastal fog that blankets the fruit in the mornings and evenings helps to facilitate a longer growing season providing hang time that brings complexity and flavor. ” Pioneering winemakers such as Joseph Swan were among the first to plant pinot noir in this area. Fertile Goldridge and Altamont soils pair with cool temperatures to create an amazing environment to produce, world-renowned pinot noir and chardonnay,” said Devin Ruddick, vice president of sales at Hook & Ladder Winery.
For firefighters locally in the Sonoma Valley, Hook & Ladder Winery has been a beacon for first responders and their families since inception. Albeit minor compared to the challenges these firefighters face, the winery tries to play its small part to help relieve the stresses of the community. “We have been able to hear the stories of heroism first hand, but more commonly, those of a new father or mother gone for weeks at a time at the frontlines of a blaze or a local volunteer who has been answering calls from the worried community for 18 hours straight,” noted Devin.
As Jason continues on his winemaking journey, he is focused on utilizing the great fruit the Russian River Valley has to offer, believing the fruit that the De Loach family has been utilizing for the last 40 years continues to transcend into great wines, including their merlot from Chalk Hill. Merlot brings ripe fruit development and complex flavor characteristics nearly every season while embodying the rich depth often revered by lovers of cabernet sauvignon while giving the palate a softer and more round tannic structure. Hook & Ladder Winery remains focused on premium quality at an approachable price point. “We are the wine that locals actually drink regularly” noted Devin. They offer an easy-going atmosphere, a fun yet educational environment, and excellent wines at affordable prices.
Next time you are visiting the Russian River Valley, visit Hook & Ladder Vineyards & Winery. “The region has a wonderful blend of small and large wineries giving strong marketing power to the area while creating diverse options in terms of experience and winemaking approaches for the consumer. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir continue to dominate the scene, but fun lifestyle-driven wines like Rose’ are now a bedrock. Sparkling wines also have a unique home and history in the Russian River Valley,” said Devin.
OVERVIEW of Hook & Ladder Vineyards & Winery
- Who – Hook & Ladder Vineyards & Winery – Owners Cecil and Christine De Loach
- What – Wine tasting room in Russian River Valley AVA, California
- When – Hours Wed – Monday 11am – 5pm – Reservations @ 11am / 1pm / 3pm
- Where – address 2134 Olivet Road, Santa Rosa, CA, 95401
- Reservations – Can be made by online by visiting www.hookandladderwinery.com/ If you have any questions, feel free to call 707.526.2255 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
2018 Pinot Noir – Estate grown fruit in the Russian River Valley with flavors of black cherry, strawberry and cranberry. This wine is ready to drink now and would pair nicely with seared salmon or tuna.
2017 The Tillerman Red Wine Blend – Sourced from the De Loach family’s Los Amigos Ranch in Chalk Hill within the Russian River Valley. A composition of Cabernet Sauvignon 49%, Cabernet Franc 26%, Merlot 24% and 1% Sangiovese. Flavors of blueberry, blackberry and a touch of milk chocolate rounded out with a nice smooth finish. This wine would pair nicely with a wood-fired pizza.
This is a restrained yet flavorsome and complex Sauvignon with just the slightest hint of rose petal. The palate is supple with flavors of nectarines and lemon. It is medium-bodied with a marked acidity and mineral finish.