Stephen Hawks is like a mole — he likes digging in the dirt.
He’s one of two brothers who make up the Hawks & Hawks Wine Caves company. His crew has spent the past three months digging a wine cave for Hal and Fiona Barnett, founders of Barnett Vineyards in St. Helena, Calif.
The Barnetts, who are celebrating the winery’s 25th anniversary this year, bought a piece of forest land on Spring Mountain in 1983, and planted it with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot vines. Fifteen acres of the 40-acre parcel are planted to grapevines.
The 3,500 feet of wine caves, which should be finished by Sept. 1, will be used for barrel storage, Hal Barnett told the St. Helena Star, adding that the winery now produces about 7,000 cases of wine per year.
“We didn’t build the winery with enough barrel storage when we started,” he said. “This is the last part to be done.” He added the winery has always been a “work in progress.”
Hawks said digging the cave has been hard because of the “very difficult ground” that is under the Rattlesnake Hill Vineyard.
“The caves will have a fabulous view over the valley floor,” he noted. “It will be a $1 million view, and it’s going to greatly reduce their energy consumption.”