Hermit Woods Winery, national attention demands significant increase in capacity

Posted 04/25/18

With the  inclusion of Hermit Woods Winery in Food & Wine Magazine’s 2017 wine guide as one of America’s top 500 wineries, and the Petite Blue being selected by the Editor of Food & Wine Magazine as the Best Craft Beverage in NH in the 2017 Thanksgiving issue, Hermit Woods was having a hard time keeping up with demand. Additionally, two of Hermit Woods most popular wines, Petite Blue and Winnipesaukee Rosé are now available in the NH State Liquor stores.

 Ken Hardcastle-winemaker-hermitwoodsIn response to this demand, the owners of Hermit Woods, with the help of a loan from the Belknap County Economic Development Council, began workingwith Vance Metal Fabricators in New York to design and build two new custom fermenters. It took nine months of careful collaboration, measuring, and reviewing designs before tanks were ready for delivery. Hermit Woods took delivery of these tanks on February 9th, Hermit Woods Barrel Room2018. Hermit Woods also added sixteen French Oak Barrels to their cellar with a combined  1,000 gallons of additional wine storage.

Bob Manley, co-founder of Hermit Woods had this to say: “We have been very pleased with how well our wine is being received and honored by Food & Wine Magazine’s recognition. The addition of the two new tanks and sixteen new barrels adds over 4,000 gallons of capacity. We hope this new capacity will ensure we no longer run out of our two most popular wines.”

In addition to increased capacity, the custom tanks and new barrels will give Winemaker and co-founder, Ken Hardcastle, far greater control over the fermentation process. Ken: “These tanks were designed with my specific fermentation needs for our Petite Blue and Winnipesaukee Rosé, making it possible to further improve upon these and other wines we produce. The increased cooperage space will allow more of our wines to benefit from the barrel aging process. Needless to say, I am very excited about the future of Hermit Woods wine with this new and old (French oak barrels) technology that I now have at my disposal.”

Hermit Woods CatwalkDue to the sheer size of the tanks, a catwalk system needed to be built to accommodate access to the top of the tanks. The winery reached out to Matt Gault, owner of Aquagreens in Gilford NH and skilled aluminum fabricator, to construct that catwalk. Bob Manley said: “It was amazing. Working from crude drawings and measurements provided by us, Matt did an outstanding job designing and installing our new Catwalk. It went up in one piece and fit perfectly.”
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10,500 lbs of blueberriesKen informed us that he recently took delivery of 10,500 pounds of wild Maine lowbush blueberries from Merrill’s Wild Blueberries and has begun fermenting the 2018 Petite Blue in one of his new tanks. Ken began production of Winnipesaukee Rosé in the second tank this week, with cider from Apple Hill Farm in Concord NH and organic cranberries from Cape Cod. These wines should be available at the end of 2018 or beginning of 2019.



IMG_0712 Tank Delivery IMG_0715 IMG_0688