Hoopes Vineyard: Regenerative Agriculture At Its Best

Hoopes Vineyard Photo Courtesy Samantha Edwardes

Hoopes Vineyard has come a long way from its beginnings in the 1980s. Now in its 2nd generation of farming and growing grapes with Lindsay Hoopes at the helm, she has steered the winery and vineyard down a path excelling in regenerative agriculture. Like the winery’s journey, Lindsay has traveled down an unusual route that led her back to her family and growing grapes.

Spencer Hoopes

It all started in the 1980s when Lindsay’s father, Spencer Hoopes, whose family had farming roots, was stationed as a military captain in the Bay area. He hated the fog and, upon retirement, chose to move east to Oakville. It was a time when the Napa Valley was coming into its own. Cabernet Sauvignon was the grape of choice, and the one Spencer planted on his 12 acres.

A grape grower at heart, Spencer cultivated some of the best Cabernets in the valley. Seeing the accolades wineries received from the grapes he grew, Spencer decided in 1999 to produce his own wine.

As Spencer made a name for himself in the Cabernet world, he raised his family to love life both on and off the farm. He wanted his daughter Lindsay to explore the world and learn about herself.

Lindsay Hoopes

As a child, Lindsay detested farming and swore you would not become a farmer. Instead, she began with traveling and studying international law. Lindsay chose to become an attorney. She worked in the San Francisco District Attorney’s office under Kamala Harris.

A family illness brought her back to her roots, and her sense of place became farming but a little differently than her father. She instilled a new approach to farming and the wine tasting experience.

Lindsay’s journey was a regenerative process, just like Lindsay’s transitioning into regenerative agriculture. This transformation included preserving the family heritage and tradition of what Napa was when her father began growing grapes. In Lindsay’s personal life, it meant renewing her family ties by returning to her family roots.

Lindsay Hoopes © Hoopes Vineyard
Lindsay Hoopes. Photo courtesy Hoopes Vineyard

The Vineyards

Hoopes vineyards are located in Yountville and Oakville and date back to the 1980s and 1990s. The Oakville vineyard remains the oldest pre-Phylloxera vineyard. Both are certified organic.

The vineyards are working, regenerative farms complete with animals, water recycling systems, and bio-diversity practices, which enhance the overall health of our vineyard ecosystem. This regenerative agriculture encompasses the concept of conservation and rehabilitation by focusing on strengthening the health and vitality of farm soil. At the same time, the process increases resilience to climate change.

The system incorporates sustainable farming with composting and recycling farm waste.

Dante and the Hoopes Label

Dante, a terrier, was the winery and dog well-loved by the Hoopes family. He was the inspiration for the winery label as he jumped through hoops and, in this case, a barrel hoop. Lindsay’s mother designed the label. Today Dante’s energetic demeanor lives on in the Hoopes Family’s two rescue dogs, Sophie and Maya.

The Animal Sanctuary

A visit to Hoopes Oasis must include meeting the herd that plays a vital role in regenerative agriculture. Headed by Sophie and Maya, the matrons of the group, they oversee the comings and goings. Hopefully, they will not butt heads with Jack E, the wild burro, who thinks he should be boss; Jack E. keeps an eye on Pymie goats, Puck and Pan.

Then come the demanding goats, Gertrude and Clementine, whose name to fame is stealing treats. Life on the farm is enhanced with the three not so little pigs, Rasher, Carnitas, and LuLi. The farm would not be complete without the workabees hens, whose job in regenerative agriculture is to fertilize the soil and add the vital nutrients needed.

Oasis By Hoopes

Lindsay shares her universe by engaging you with a very holistic wine tasting experience. The idea is to involve the visitor creatively by bringing them into the bio-diverse community as if they play a vital role in the sustainability of this community. The concept introduces one to Hoopes’s regenerative farm, animal sanctuary, and garden experience. As a visitor, you become part of regenerative agriculture.

Oasis by Hoopes - Regenerative Agriculture ©Samantha Edwardes
Oasis by Hoopes – Regenerative Agriculture. Photo courtesy of Samantha Edwardes

Fresh Outlook Through Regenerative Agriculture

In keeping with regenerative agriculture and farming, Lindsay and her family decided to bring in a new winemaker for a new outlook. When word got out that Hoopes was looking for a new winemaker, many solicited Lindsay on their own accord. Lindsay chose Aaron Potts for his fresh perspective and thoughts on using older techniques like amphora for both the Chardonnay and the Sauvignon Blanc. Aaron is also a heavy proponent of organic farming, aligning with the Hoopes Vineyard goals.

Hoopes Vineyard Wine

I have sampled the Hoopes Vineyard wine on two occasions, and I was duly impressed. Two of those tastings included wine Aaron Potts had a hand on.

2020 Sauvignon Blanc Atlas Peak: This wine is created in amphora, which I think gives the wine its subtleness. I found a food-friendly wine with low acid that showcases tropical fruit with hints of lime on the finish.

2020 Chardonnay Napa Valley: This chardonnay ferments and ages in a combination of amphora, stainless steel, and used oak barrels. I found a fruity and lively wine displaying wonderful apple and pear flavors.

Hoopes Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay

2019 Chardonnay Napa Valley: The Chardonnay combines grapes from their Yountville vineyard and Mount Veeder. This Chardonnay ages ten months in French oak, 30% new oak. I found flavors of crisp apple and lemon.

Comparing the 2019 to the 2020, I found that the inclusion of aging in amphorae added a nice dimension and subtly that I preferred. The process enhances the food-friendly and easy-drinking qualities of the wine.

2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley: This wine combines Cabernet Sauvignon primarily with a small percentage of Merlot. The Cabernet ages 28 months in 45% new French oak. I found an easy wine to pair with food. On the palate, I discovered a smooth, balanced, and well-rounded wine with flavors of blueberries accented with mushrooms.

Hoopes Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay ©Cori Solomon
Hoopes Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay

The ultimate goal at Hoopes Vineyard is to find creative ways to experience the lifestyle of wine by embracing and making it an accessible experience through regenerative agriculture.

Note: Common to the wine industry, this writer received hosted wine samples. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure.

Featured Photo courtesy of Samatha Edwardes.