Four-wheel drive, sunshine and wine. If that sounds like a winning combination to you then Hahn Estate has what you have been searching for. Boasting the perfect trifecta for an exhilarating day in the vines with their one-of-a-kind Estate Vineyard ATV Adventure.
The drive to Hahn Vineyards from the Monterey Peninsula alone is a treat; with jaw dropping views of the Santa Lucia Highlands towering above rural vineyards and an eternity of lettuce fields, one could easily mistake this valley for the Garden of Eden. Shortly after hitting River Road off of Highway 68 the skies tend to break free from the cool coastal fog and open up to reveal some much needed sunshine.
Having heard so much about Hahn's four-wheeled safari I decided it was finally time to knock it off my bucket list. My friend and headed to the immaculate winery for a tour we would never forget.
We kicked things off in the tasting room with a bit of history about the 1,200 acre estate, the Santa Lucia Highland appellation and the Hahn family. Before heading out to the ATV our guide Tom assured us that we would be back to sample the fruits of their labor, phew!
Tom took the driver's seat while my friend and I strapped ourselves in the back seat. The ATV was incredibly roomy and can hold up to five guests.
Once we took off it was apparent that this wasn't Tom's first rodeo; we were ripping between rows of grapevines on an ATV, fat tires spewing the dust! We whipped around all sorts of small dirt roads not accessible to the public which was a luxury as the views are absolutely amazing.
Not only are there vineyards galore but the estate has some of the best vistas of the entire Salinas Valley and perfectly checkerboarded agriculture fields down below.
The tour has several stops along the way to point out interesting tidbits about their vineyards, which are mainly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay varietals, as well an interesting sound system to keep the deer from grazing upon their vines.
After a thrilling ride through the vineyards we stopped at the winery's main bottling operation and ventured into the exclusive barrel rooms where we learned a bit more about the winemaking process. The barrel rooms in particular were fascinating with hundreds of French oak barrels meticulously placed and labeled; the fresh scent of wine and oak is still fresh in my mind.
Tom brought along a sieve and graciously allowed us to sample newly harvested grape juice straight from the barrel, talk about a vine to wine experience!
After the 90 minute escapade we headed back to the tasting room to finally taste what we had learned so much about. Tom gave us a private tasting of their Estate wines, ranging from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir to a Riesling. Having just seen the whole wine process unfold made me much more appreciative of the grape juice from the gods.
Estate Vineyard Tours are offered 1:30pm daily, and also at 10:30 am on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday ($45 per person). The Tasting Room is open 7 days a week, 11am-5pm. Closed on select holidays.