Hermit Woods Winery Balances Science and Art to Create Award-Winning Wine
The man behind the curtain at Hermit Woods is a scientist by trade. Ken Hardcastle earned his PhD in structural geology from the University of Mass. Ken’s love of nature inspires him, and his strong analytical abilities provide the foundation for experimentation that leads him into the art and creativity of winemaking. In his own words, “I find fermentation to be one of the most exciting processes in the world and I love to foster it.”
Foster it he does. Ken’s experimentation has led to an abundance of traditional and non-traditional wines. Ken uses a combination of old and new methods to make “really pleasing wine,” adding, “also important is the nutrition of body and mind.” In addition to his big red wines, such as Cabernet, Malbec, and Carménère, Ken has developed many unique fruit wines and meads, including local Kiwi, Apple-Pear, Peach-Rosehip, and Red Scare, which blends dark berries with honey for an intense, deep-flavored wine. Ken’s wines are dry or off dry, well balanced, and sophisticated.
“The best wines are those that are greater than the sum of their parts, that is what we strive for,” says Bob Manley, a partner at Hermit Woods. “Well-made wine is likely to embody not only the characteristics of a variety of fruits, but possibly other tastes, like smoky, earthy, or grassy, which adds depth and character to the wine.”
Chuck Lawrence, also a partner, concurs. “What’s important to me in a wine is its complexity and balance, a wine with a clean nose, pleasant fruit, soft mouth feel, balanced sweetness/acidity, and a lingering finish with mellow drying tannins. The Three Honey Wine is an awesome example—a clean, fragrant wine capturing the essence of the flower’s nectar. Ken’s attention to detail truly came together in this wine.”
“Ken is a creative monster,” continues Chuck. “He is not bound by any traditions, only the desire to make the best wine. He is willing to take chances, and through experimentation, create blends that will result in unique, fun wines from fresh, local products that represent the terroir of the region.”
“In twenty years of visiting wineries, I have never met anyone more excited and passionate about making wine,” says Bob. “Along with endless reading, Ken applies experimentation and practice to expand his knowledge and discover new frontiers. Ken understands making wine is an art and is careful not to let science get in the way of the creative process that allows the fruit to be the best wine it can be. Whether science or art, Ken pursues perfection on every front.”
Whatever your interest in wine, the three partners at Hermit Woods aim to please. Stop by their tasting room, sample their many creations, learn about wine, and be drawn in by their passion and excitement.