Hermit Woods Winery Balances Science and Art to Create Award-Winning Wine

Posted 05/18/12
Barrel Aged Wine at Hermit Woods Winery

Ken Hardcastle, Hermit Woods Wine Maker samples the Ermitano

Recently Hermit Woods Winery’s “Three Honey Wine” won a silver medal at a national wine competition.  This was no small feat for a new winery in its first year, but with a dedicated team, and a winemaker with a passion for creating great wines, the award was not surprising.

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 the big red wines; Cabernet, Malbec, and Carménère, Ken has developed many unique fruit wines and meads, including local Kiwi, Apple-Pear, Peach-Rosehip, and Red Scare which combines dark berries with honey for an intense, deep-flavored wine. Ken’s wines are dry or off dry, well balanced and sophisticated.

“Some of the best fruit wine won’t even taste like the fruit its made with,” 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, grassy, which adds depth and character to the wine.”

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“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.  Visit their tasting room, taste their many creations, learn about wine, and be drawn in by their passion and excitement.

This story was featured in the new Inns & Spa at Mill Falls new in room Magazine for the summer of 2012.  Check it out here!