Ken Hardcastle

Hermit Woods Wine Maker, Ken Hardcastle

Ken Hardcastle, Wine Maker

I love to ferment.  As a professional geologist and lover of nature, I find that fermentation is one of the most exciting processes in the world and I love to foster it.

Born in Stoneham Mass, but grew up in So. Cal.; went to the Waldorf School, Highland Hall in Northridge, then Occidental College for undergrad., both in California.  Moved back east, NYC, for my Masters, and then to western Mass (UMass Amherst) for my PhD in structural geology.  Have been exploring for groundwater ever since 1989 with the great group at Emery & Garrett Groundwater, Inc., here in nearby Meredith NH.  Have a wonderful partner in life/true love, Maya, and two wonderful kids, Max and Liana – both currently off in the world at college.

My beer making started in early 1990s, and then I expanded to include honey (for mead) and then grapes and other fruits for wines.  Now in my backyard I grow apples-berries-rosehips, tend old-vine Marachel Foch grape vines, and raise bees … all for wine and the fresh organic produce.  I also work with my partners, Chuck and Bob, to tend the vineyard at the winery and we actively seek fresh fruit of any type in the region … the more local and organic the better!

As a trained scientist, I find it natural/easy to quantify/track the analytical/chemical side of fermentation; this then allows for the artful side of wine making to be done with more foundation.  I am comfortable with pH/TA measurements, paper chromotography, malt/hop bills, decoction mash, etc. as well as a firm believer of not just using numbers but following my taste and intuition.  Yeast are key.  It is really exciting to me to have a few different, single fruit wines I have made, and then to blend those in different proportions to see/taste what works … I let the ‘science’ of acidity/fruit/tannin balance to provide the foundation for the creative side … of taste and satisfaction.  I am a self taught beer and wine maker, with many hundreds of batches under my belt … and I look forward to the next batch as much as my first.  Come share a glass with me and I’ll tell you about the history of all the components and my efforts … and how, now, you too are part of its life and all of life.  Cheers, Ken.