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Celebrating 20 vintages from the Santa Cruz Mtns. to the Sonoma Valley

Written by Ken Wornick

Backed by 20+ vintages and many dozens of wines produced, Ken is a Sonoma-based wine consultant and founder of Hydeout Sonoma and Dysfunctional Family Winery.

February 3, 2019

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As I happily enter my 20th wine vintage (1999-2019), please join me for a quick look back…

What started in 1999 as a small vineyard development company (Post and Trellis Vineyards in Burlingame, Ca.) grew in 2003 to include a winery (La Honda Winery in Redwood City, Ca.), and eventually in 2006 our branded wines which were distributed throughout the Bay Area.

This was the original team. That’s me in the cowboy hat, foreman Salvador in the green T-shirt, and asst. winemaker Colin in black sweatshirt and white ball cap. Quick back story – I was looking for an assistant winemaker to help me with the growing winery workload. I passed on many candidates – until I received an email from Costa Rica, from an American dude who was on a surfing safari. Winner winner chicken dinner; Colin took the job and is still at La Honda today, now making great wines as Head Winemaker:

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Here is the start to one of the earliest vineyards we developed in Woodside, San Mateo County. In those days, we marked out the vineyard old-school style – with string and stakes. And then used a bobcat to drill the holes for the end posts:

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This is Cabernet fruit from one of the first harvests:

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When we passed the dozen-vineyard-clients mark, we got up the courage to start building out this custom crush winery for our client’s fruit, in Redwood City:

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And we employed our kids and their friends to help. Here are high school freshmen Dennis Wornick and Nicholas Martin stomping on fruit:

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This was the very first bottling run, looks like Chardonnay, all done by hand one bottle at a time, but assisted by many terrific friends:

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It wasn’t long before we opened the winery to the public. And because we were one of the first ‘urban wineries’ on the SF Peninsula, the crowds grew pretty quickly. We enjoyed major events with visitors from overseas, and many local tech companies like Apple and Google held their corporate events at La Honda:

LHW trolley

Our motto then was “think globally, drink locally” and we thought ourselves pretty sharp with no help on that tag line from a PR or advertising agency!

Event Schedule

By 2006, we were farming more than 40 vineyards between San Francisco and San Jose. Placed on top of a geological map, you can see the soil types and varieties for each location:

vineyards map

And our wines began winning awards – in 2009, we received ‘Best of Class’ and ‘Double Gold’ from the San Francisco Wine Competition, and 93 points from the Wine Enthusiast:

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After 14 years building vineyards and making wine for our clients in the Bay Area, we sold Post & Trellis Vineyards and La Honda Winery to a private investor. And moved to Sonoma to start the process all over again. Now under the name “Hydeout Sonoma”, as we enter our 20th year in the industry, we are working with over a dozen wonderful clients, and soon introducing many new brands. The map below shows some of our vineyard locations from Sonoma to Napa:

Hydeout Sonoma client vineyards

Here, a client is celebrating their very first harvest, about 5 tons of Sonoma hillside Cabernet:

client 2

In 2018, many of Hydeout Sonoma’s client wines rest comfortably in barrels:

Hydeout barrel stack

Thanks for taking the trip down memory lane!

Our current project is to get the Use Permit from Sonoma County for our new Dysfunctional Family Winery Hyde Road. And we look forward to many more years of grape growing and winemaking.

Thanks for being a loyal reader of Hydeout Sonoma’s blog.

Dysfucntional 2016 label

Next report: a first hand visit to the wines of Patagonia…by motorcycle.

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13 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Congratulations on 20 years of doing it right!

    Reply
    • Ken Wornick

      Bobby – thanks for the nice comment, it’s been fun being peripherally involved in your fully-organic vineyard too! – Ken

      Reply
  2. Avatar

    KEN: CAN’T BELIEVE IT WAS 20 YEARS AGO YOU BEGAN THE BUSINESS AND THEN THE WINERY. PLUS THE MYSTERIOUS VINE THAT APPEARED IN OUR YARD.
    MADE DELICIOUS GRAPE JUICE. STILL PRODUCING.
    SPECIAL MEMORIES.
    NANCY F.

    Reply
  3. Avatar

    Congrats on your longevity in a tough field. You must be doing it the right way.

    Reply
  4. Avatar

    You have put the “FUN” in dysfunctional!

    Reply
  5. Avatar

    That’s a great read. Thanks for the trip 🙂

    Reply
  6. Avatar

    Wow! Time flies! Glad we’ve been along for the ride.
    This year will be 10 years since Carl’s party at the winery.

    Reply
  7. Avatar

    Ken,
    Great to read the details of the 20 year history! Inspirational! And to see Dennis and Nicholas. Enjoy your trip, lots to celebrate!

    Reply
  8. Avatar

    “Cork” – Best wishes for continued success. I’m still waiting for the wine and horses party! Bondo can’t wait to ride again since his accident. 🙂

    Reply
  9. Avatar

    Congrats Kenny – when with the red blend “Horn Blend” be released? All the best.

    Reply
  10. Avatar

    I applaud twenty years of being uncorked. What a fascinating and satisfying career and life. Congratulations Kenahora.

    Reply
  11. Avatar

    What a great story! Love you guys and wish you continued success.

    Reply
  12. Avatar

    A man, a truck and Ollie…
    Congratulations Guys!
    Incredible ride!

    Reply

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