Hermit Woods Winery asks its customers to help support a living wage for it’s employees

Bob Manley, Chuck Lawrence, and Ken Hardcastle

There has been a lot of talk during this election year, both in New Hampshire and across the country, about whether the minimum wage should be raised. At Hermit Woods Winery, they have stopped talking about it and decided to take action. On August 19th, Hermit Woods will raise the hourly pay rate of all their employees to $15.00 an hour. They will achieve this by charging their customers a ‘living wage surcharge’ of 3.5% on all sales and applying the money raised towards salaries.

Owners Bob Manley, Ken Hardcastle, and Chuck Lawrence explain that they understand all too well how hard it can be to get by on low wages as they have put almost everything they have earned back into their growing company over the past six years. “We have built a hard working dedicated team. We want to be able to reward them with a living wage so they can support their families and pursue their passions in life as we have” says Bob. “Some of our employees are in school or just out of school and have college debt to pay off while others have families to support, two of whom are single moms. If they’re going to work hard to help us grow our business, we want to make sure they have the resources to afford to live.”

New Hampshire can be an expensive place to live with the cost of living about 16% higher than the rest of the country. Prior to this plan, Hermit Woods was making their best effort to pay all their employees $12.00 per hour (a rate that is still higher than the average for similar positions). Based on the research they had done and the cost of living in the Lakes Region, the owners of Hermit Woods Winery felt that simply wasn’t enough. Bob explains, “we are not sure $15 is enough, but it is a heck of a lot closer than $12.”

The owners of Hermit Woods Winery feel strongly about their decision and sincerely hope that their customers will support and embrace it. Unlike many wineries and other similar service industries, Hermit Woods does not encourage tipping. “We feel the surcharge is a better way to ensure everyone is rewarded equally for their hard work” says Bob. “We want to ensure our customers that every penny raised via this surcharge will go towards increasing our employees pay and nothing else.”

Bob, Ken, and Chuck would like to be able to say they were the first to think of this concept, but they are not. Bob recently read a story that was published via NH Business Review about a small restaurant in Vermont, Popolo’s, that began a similar program in June and inspired him to look into the idea. After some research, they learned that several other businesses across New England and beyond have also taken this approach. After talking with Gary Smith, the person behind Popolo’s decision, and other businesses who have taken this step, the Hermit Woods team decided this was the right thing to do.

Bob reports that it is not likely that the 3.5% surcharge will cover all the costs of increasing everyone at Hermit Woods to $15 an hour, but the owners of Hermit Woods wanted to identify a number that would get close while not asking too much of their customers. You can learn more about their plan by visiting their website: www.hermitwoods.com

Hermit Woods Winery is a boutique winery located in Meredith, NH. They produce a wide variety of grape, fruit, and honey wines, mostly from local, often organic fruit and styled after the old world dry wines of Europe.

For more information please contact Bob Manley by calling 603.253.7968 or emailing, bob@hermitwoods.com

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Chef Halligan outdid himself for Hermit Woods club wine pairing dinner!

All of us here at Hermit Woods alway look forward to the opportunity to work with Chef Halligan of the Local Eatery when it comes to wine pairing dinners (or anything to do with fine food for that matter). It’s not just that Chef Halligan is one of the finest and most creative Chef’s in the area, he really understands our wines and how to pair them with his food.  Each of the five wines we served at the dinner paired perfectly with every course. Not being a food writer, I am going to refrain from trying to explain the finer points of one of the best meals I have had in years. Let us just say, if you have not had Chef Halligan’s food, you simply must change that.

It was a wonderful evening among Hermit Woods Wine Club Members and guests. Dinning commenced shortly after 7:30 and everyone departed happy at around 10:00.  The conversation was lively (in-between of course savoring every morsel of food and glass of wine), and new friendships were formed. We look forward to doing it again soon! Click here to view a gallery of all the images from the event.

Chef Halligan at work

wine_club_dinner-055Poached Spring Vegetables at Local EateryLocal Eatery Wine Club Dinner

Ken Hardcastle, Hermit Woods Winemaker
Honey Tres Leche Cake, Local Eatery

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Making News at the 2016 Eastern Winery Exposition

New England Wine Gazzette-6-16-webKen and I were both guest speakers at the 2016 Eastern Winery Exposition held in Lancaster Pennsylvania this year. It is always an honor to be part of such an excellent event with some of the wine industries finest leaders. Ken presented our 2012 Hermitage as part of a discussion of unique fruit wines. I presented about crowd funding and our Kickstarter Campaign. We look forward to attending in 2017 in Syracuse NY.

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The Making of our 2015 Heirloom Crabapple Wine

On Wednesday, September 9th, we received 6,000 lbs. of fresh Dolgo Crabapples from Alyson’s Orchard in Walpole and Scott Farm in Brattleboro vt VT. Shown here is the first steps to turning fresh Dolgo’s into crabapple wine.

Dolgo Crabapples prepard for transport from Scott Farm in Vermont

Dolgo Crabapples prepard for transport from Scott Farm in Vermont

All loaded up and ready to go.

All loaded up and ready to go.

Fresh Dolgo Crabapples from Scott Farm in Vermont

Fresh Dolgo Crabapples from Scott Farm in Vermont

Fresh Dolgo Crabapples from Scott Farm in Vermont

Fresh Dolgo Crabapples

Fresh Dolgo Crabapples

The crush pad

The crush pad

Pouring crabapples into the apple crusher and into the fermenter.

Pouring crabapples into the apple crusher and into the fermenter.

Shoveling the last of the crabapples into the crusher

Shoveling the last of the crabapples into the crusher

Crushed crabapplese

Crushed crabapplese

Crushed Crabapples ready to be turned into wine.

Crushed Crabapples ready to be turned into wine.

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Join us for a Sparkling Wine release party!

sparkling harvest apple ad

We are excited to announce the release of our first Hermit Woods Sparkling Wines! We will be pouring our new releases on Friday, September 4th from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the winery in beautiful downtown Meredith.

The extraordinary Jazz guitarist, Paul Bourgelais will be performing all evening and light hors d’oeuvres will be provided. $10 includes a tasting of assorted still and sparkling wines. Bring your friends and help us celebrate!

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“Meredith Winemaker Breaking New Ground”

Lakes Region Life, a publication of the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, recently published a story about Hermit Woods Winery.  The author really captured some of the exciting things that are going on here at Hermit Woods Winery.  You can read the story here or on-line by clicking here. Let us know what you think. lakes region life coverLakes Region Life-6-1-2015-web

 

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Common Man Camp and Hermit Woods Bring You Winery Tour & Five Course Pairing Dinner!

HPP - CampFusionWine.indd

Hermit Woods Winery tour begins at 4 p.m. presented by winemaker Ken Hardcastle, and partner, Bob Manley, followed by a five-course wine dinner at Camp Restaurant in Meredith.
 Wine Dinner Menu
First Course: Shaved asparagus salad with peas, radish, prosciutto and a candied lemon vinaigrette. Served with Kiwi Wine crafted from local, organic kiwi berries. Can be compared to a dry Riesling.
Second Course: Chilean Sea Bass with corn, fava, bacon, and burnt tomato broth. Served 
with Harvest Apple Wine crafted from French and English heirloom apples, quince and crab apples.
Third Course: Duck with orange, scallion gremolata, and shitake quinoa
. Served with Maple Blue Wine, a dry,  burgundy style wine bursting with fresh blueberry aromas and hints of smoke and maple.
Fourth Course: Short Rib with carrot puree, roasted cipollini, and mascarpone polenta
. Served with Ermitano Cabernet Sauvignon, crafted from Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, aged in French oak for one year.
Fifth Course: Crème Caramel Semifreddo with a sour cherry compote. Served 
with Melange, a sweet, port-like wine crafted from local organic honey, blueberries, elderberries, blackberries and black currants.Tickets are $55 per person + tax and gratuity. Reservations required. Call Camp at (603) 279-3003.
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Meredith Dressed Up, Meredith fashion in bloom!

Greater Meredith Programs spring event
The Greater Meredith Program invites you to view a collection of apparel from the Meredith Village Shops!
April 30th, 2015
6:30pm Cocktail Hour and Hors d’oeuvres
7:30pm Fashion Show
Winnipesaukee Ballroom
Meredith, NH
Door Prizes, Silent Auction, and Wine Tasting by Hermit Woods Winery
$50.00 (includes one drink voucher)

A collection of apparel from Meredith Village shops will modeled by local residents. Businesses participating in the fashion show include Winni Denim and Supply Co.,Adornments, Lady of the Lake, Bella Beads, The Guest House, A Creative Studio, Great Northern Trading Co., Providence, Gallery 51, The Country Carriage and Bootleggers.

All proceeds to benefit Meredith’s 250th Anniversary Celebration!
 
Hope you can join us!
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Hermit Woods Winery Goes High Tech!

Ken Hardcastle-WinemakerIf you think Hermit Woods Winery’s wine is good now, it’s likely to get a lot better very soon.  Thanks to an equipment loan from Meredith Village Savings Bank, Hermit Woods has upgraded its entire production line.

“We are always striving to make the best wine we can possibly produce, this new equipment will go a long way towards making that happen” says Ken Hardcastle, wine maker at Hermit Woods.  “We will be able to handle our fruit and wine more gently during production, have a cleaner, sterilized work environment, greater filtering capabilities, and an improved bottling line.” Says Ken, “ and this is just the beginning.”

Talking with Ken about all the possibilities now available to him, it is clear how excited and passionate he is about putting his new tools to work.  According to Ken, some of this new technology will put Hermit Woods on the cutting edge of wine making in New Hampshire.   One example of this is their new McClain Ozone Generator, an organic solution to optimal sterilization of the winery and winemaking equipment.

It’s not just about making better wine either, some of the new equipment will allow Hermit Woods to produce sparkling wine and cider for the first time.   They hope to have these new products available by this fall.

The owners of Hermit Woods took the acquisition of this new equipment very seriously, spending over six months researching industry standards.  Their research brought them to California and the country’s largest wine conference, Unified.  “Attending Unified provided us the perfect opportunity to meet manufacturers first hand and choose the best equipment,” said Bob Manley.  While in California, the partners also took the opportunity to meet with wine makers from Napa and surrounding wine regions to learn from the best.

More recently, the Hermit Woods team attended the Eastern Winery Exposition in Syracuse, NY, where they again met with manufacturers and visited local wineries that have been making wine a lot longer than they have. “It is so exciting seeing what others are doing and aspiring to bring what we have learned to bear on our own wine” says Ken.

As Hermit Woods Winery enters their second year in their new home in Meredith, NH, they are eager to share the results of their new technology with their customers.  If you want to learn more about what they are up to, tours are available every Saturday and Sunday year round, Ken would be more than happy to show you around.

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Cast Your Vote for the Next Great Food Business, Hermit Woods Winery

The finalists are in and Hermit Woods Winery has the opportunity to win a grant for $10,000 and marketing support from Samuel Adams Brewing Company.  We just need your vote on the finalists website below:

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/238516

We would also appreciate it if you would spread the word amongst your friends in the hope that they too will support us by casting their vote.

Thank you!

The Hermit Woods Team

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