The Path Paul Hobbs took to opening a Finger Lakes Winery

Just over a year after Paul Hobbs launched Hillick & Hobbs’ inaugural Riesling, the internationally renowned winemaker has a new announcement regarding his Finger Lakes-based brand.

This time, it’s concerning the grand opening of Hillick & Hobbs’ estate, which formally opens its doors to the public on June 18, which will showcase the brand’s signature Riesling.

Situated on the southeastern banks of Seneca Lake, New York, the new Hillick & Hobbs hospitality center will feature cypress walls, furniture crafted from materials sourced from the estate and other sustainably made furnishings. Hobbs entrusted the planning and design of the estate to international designer Tom Johnson, who has worked in Japan and other areas of Asia and has designed custom residences and wineries in upstate New York.

Hobbs named Hillick & Hobbs after his parents, Joan Hillick and Edward Hobbs. The winery honors Hobbs’ roots in western New York where he grew up on his family’s farm. In 2013, he revived his family’s legacy of growing grapes in New York when he acquired a 78-acre property in the Finger Lakes with the vision of producing world-class Riesling. 

“Over the course of my career, I have devoted considerable time exploring and studying the world’s top Riesling sites whilst thinking about where in the US would it be possible to match their quality,” Hobbs told Vintner Magazine in 2021, when he first announced the launch of the brand’s Riesling. “For a variety of reasons, I was already acquainted with the Finger Lakes region, yet it was my brother David, coupled with my consulting work in Niagara-on-the-Lake, that prompted me to go for it. Early on it became apparent that to compete with the best we would have to do things differently. That is why we chose to build everything from scratch regardless of cost in time and money.”

Hillick & Hobbs will offer an estate vertical experience featuring two vintages of the Estate Vineyard Dry Riesling, which was launched with the inaugural 2019 vintage, and a curated charcuterie board. There will also be a selection of food pairings available.

The estate vineyard is currently planted to 21-acres of high-density Riesling on steep slate soils that run with the slope, akin to Germany’s famed Mosel region. 

“Riesling thrives in colder, marginal viticultural zones and of vinifera varieties it has good winter hardiness. The Finger Lakes has that,” Hobbs said. “Beyond the basics, well-drained, slate soils that hold and radiate heat, and allow for good root exploration and drainage are key.  Also, airflow is critical to keep the canopies healthy and open—here is where the combination of the lake and steep slopes come into play and work their magic.”

Hillick & Hobbs is making its site-specific estate Riesling under the supervision of winemaker Lynne Fahy and vineyard manager Samuel Pulis.

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