When it comes to wine, Austin Hope knows a thing our two. His family has been farming in Paso Robles, California, for more than 30 years. When they arrived in this barely-discovered region, they planted apples and grapes. Little did they know that the rolling, oak-studded terrain of Paso Robles would one day become a viticultural terroir of significance and one of the top wine-growing regions for quality red wine within the Central Coast. We chatted with Austin to learn more about him, his wines and his favourite sips for summer. —Vita Daily
Hello Austin! Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.
Hi my name is Austin Hope, I am an Owner and Winemaker for Hope Family Wines based in Paso Robles, California. My parents were some of the first to establish the Paso Robles AVA back in the early 80’s and I have grown up in this beautiful wine community. I live with my daughters and wife on our Estate Vineyard located in the Templeton Gap located on the Westside of the Paso AVA. I have endless hobbies but many of them are grounded in living off the land, from gardening to hunting. I love being outdoors.
Who and what is Hope Family Wines? What makes your vineyards, and wines, unique?
Hope Family Wines is a winery that was built from the ground up in Paso Robles with the intention to care for our community, our people and our land while producing world class wines. We are unique because we approach the wine business on a more personal level than most wineries our size, we love making wine and feel proud we can produce a product that consumers around the world enjoy. We are also in a unique position where we can think outside the box and create wines that inspire us to push the boundaries in an industry that has firm traditions.
What’s your personal day-to-day like? What is your favourite aspect of winemaking? How/by what are you inspired by?
Well day to day, my life is filled with lots of meetings. We are growing very fast and with that comes a lot of opportunity to strategize with the team on how we want our operations to be in 5, 10, 15 years. It is an incredibly exciting time for my entire team. We have all worked together for a very long time so when we meet, we look to the future with huge ambitions of what we can become. It is incredibly exciting and scary all at once, but inspiring! My favorite aspect of winemaking is knowing the product we produce was grown from the land and made into a product people share at dinner tables or events with family and friends. It is a product that brings joy to so many occasions and I am very proud of that.
How does your family/brand history/heritage play into present-day (and future) winemaking techniques and products?
Our history and heritage gives us the knowledge and understanding of land that sets us apart from many of the wineries in the region. We understand our soils and our climates in a very intimate way that is only learned through experience vintage after vintage. We are diligent record keepers as well and reference all the data regularly. There is no exact science to making luxury wines but with our knowledge we are able to make very educated decisions from the viticultural side to winemaking. This is apparent in every bottle was make.
We often wonder this about winemakers: how do you maintain a work-life balance?
Hmm. It is a moving target considering I travel and entertain more than most could even imagine. My work is my life, so it all intertwines. But I do make my health a priority and it is incredibly important. I work out daily and eat incredibly well when I am home. I’m sure it is an area I could improve on but I also love what I do and feel blessed to be in the position that I am in.
Sustainability is top of mind in winemaking these days; how does Hope Family Wines lead in this regard?
We require all of our growers to be SIP certified and as of 2021, we are 100% Sustainably Grown. It seems like a simple request but it is a very involved certification that we believe is the right way to do business and ensures the longevity of our AVA.
Can you give us the low-down on this wine the Austin Hope Cabernet Sauvignon?
Sure, Austin Hope Cabernet is a project that we have dreamt about for a very long time. I feel like the release of this cab, 7 vintages ago, was the culmination of our life’s work and represents all the greatness that is Paso Robles Cabernet. The fact that it has received such incredible accolades and such widespread consumer approval, is very rewarding. I couldn’t think of a better Cabernet to drink this evening.
We know why people should taste your wines, but why should they visit the vineyard/winery?
Austin Hope Tasting Cellar has built its reputation on a number of key elements that makes it stand out amongst its many neighbors. Our team’s number one priority is to ensure every visitor leaves us with a memory for a lifetime! From the moment they are greeted by our host with a Welcome splash, to the private and intimate tasting experience to the moment they leave our tasting cellar, our goal is to exceed their expectations and share our passion about Paso Robles and the world class wines that Austin Hope Winery creates. Our guests enjoy seated tastings in beautiful outdoor, private cabanas overlooking the estate vineyards or inside at well-appointed lounges. We offer an authentically Paso Robles approach to wine tasting, friendly approachable hospitality while enjoying world class wines. There is an art to hospitality, and we are very proud of the experiences we have curated. Our portfolio of wines is world class and quite extensive. From our small lot tasting cellar exclusive wines to our Austin Hope Cabernet, we believe we can find a wine for everyone to enjoy.
In your opinion, what is the perfect wine within the HFW portfolio with which to raise a glass to spring/summer 2023?
This is always a hard one for me. However, I’ll narrow it down to two. The Austin Hope Cabernet is a must try for anyone that has yet to taste it. A great wine to share at upcoming dinners and social gatherings, you can’t go wrong. If you are looking for something to enjoy on a weeknight, the Liberty School Cabernet Reserve is your go to. It is fruit forward, well balanced and extremely food friendly. Great for enjoying with summer BBQ’s.