Nicky Hahn, Founder of Hahn Family Wines, Receives Wine Enthusiast's Inaugural "American Wine Pioneer" Wine Star Award
Soledad, Calif. — November 9, 2017 — Wine Enthusiast announced Nicolaus (Nicky) Hahn, founder of Hahn Family Wines, will be recognized as “American Wine Pioneer” at its 18th annual Wine Star Awards. Nicky Hahn is the inaugural recipient of this Wine Enthusiast award, which recognizes pioneers who paved the way for others in the wine business. Hahn played an essential role in establishing the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation in Monterey County and has dedicated four decades to building the stellar reputation for this unique winemaking area.
“The Santa Lucia Highlands AVA is recognized as one of the country’s premier winemaking areas because of the leadership and commitment of visionaries like Nicky Hahn,” said Adam Strum, editor and publisher of Wine Enthusiast. Hahn will receive recognition at a black-tie gala in Miami on Monday, January 29, 2018, and be featured in Wine Enthusiast’s special “Best of Year” issue.
In 1988, Nicky Hahn rallied his neighbors on the eastern slopes of the Santa Lucia Mountains to firmly define and promote the quality and characteristics of the region. Their efforts were rewarded with “AVA” status for the Santa Lucia Highlands in 1991. Today, the Santa Lucia Highlands is recognized as one of the United States’ top winegrowing regions, especially for Pinot Noir, with nearly 6,500 acres under vine in the compact 22,000-acre AVA.
“I am extremely humbled to receive this recognition from Wine Enthusiast,” said Hahn. “I’m grateful for the cooperation of numerous neighbors and allies who supported the vision of defining the Santa Lucia Highlands as a unique winegrowing area. I also must attribute this recognition to the hardworking team at Hahn Family Wines who are instrumental in crafting the high-quality wines that have helped build the AVA’s reputation.”
In Hahn’s early life, he was a successful business man in Paris, a credit analyst in New York and chairman of a leading international computer software company in London. His adventurous spirit brought him to Monterey County in search of potential world-class vineyard properties in the 1970s. He purchased the Smith Vineyard and Hook Vineyard—planted to Cabernet Sauvignon—in 1979, and the Hahn family made its first vintage in 1980.
After examining research and drawing on winemaking experience in the area, Hahn determined the climate was not suited to Cabernet Sauvignon. So in the early 2000s the family quite literally “bet the farm” and replanted hundreds of acres of estate vineyards to primarily Pinot Noir. That decision paid off, as Hahn Family Wines is now recognized as one of the top luxury Pinot Noir producers in the Santa Lucia Highlands.
Today, Philip Hahn, Nicky Hahn’s son, is at the helm providing leadership for Hahn Family Wines.
“It’s extremely gratifying to see my father recognized for his dedication to a winemaking region that was under-the-radar for many just a decade ago,” said Philip Hahn, chairman of Hahn Family Wines and the second generation of the Hahn winemaking family. “The Santa Lucia Highlands makes some of the top Pinot Noir in the country, and I take very seriously the responsibility to further the legacy that my father has built for Hahn Family Wines and this exceptional AVA.”
About Hahn Family Wines
Hahn Family Wines is a family-owned winery located in the Santa Lucia Highlands (SLH) appellation of Monterey County, California. Founders Nicolaus (Nicky) and Gaby Hahn purchased land in Monterey County in the late 1970s and have made wine in SLH for more than 35 years (since 1980). Early on, Nicky Hahn saw the wine grape growing potential of SLH, and in 1988 he spearheaded efforts to establish SLH as an American Viticulture Area. Today, Hahn Family Wines owns one of the largest shares of planted vines in the region, equaling more than 650 SLH vineyard acres that range in elevation from 200 to 1,200 feet. The vineyards offer a diverse selection of terroir for growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and other grape varieties. The brands of Hahn Family Wines include Hahn SLH, Hahn, Lucienne, Smith & Hook and Boneshaker.