What's Cookin' on Wine with Michael Horn


July 14, 201552 min
JOHN HILLIARD – WINEMAKER & PROPRIETOR, HILLIARD AND BRUCE WINERY For the 2014 harvest, all Hilliard Bruce Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were received, sorted, pressed, and are now barrel aging in a new state-of-the-art estate winery. It has been awarded LEED Silver certification by the U.S. Green Building Council on January 31, 2015 - the very first in Santa Barbara County. Embracing sustainability in the vineyard has translated to every aspect of the winery's purposeful design. Among the many features at the gravity-flow winery is a subterranean naturally humidified cellar with ambient temperature-controlled aging rooms, solar power, no-maintenance core-ten steel siding, creative LED lighting, as well as 40ft solar tubes that bring natural sunlight into the cellar. Views of the Sta. Rita Hills through 120-foot-wide by 2.5-story-tall glass windows can be seen from virtually every corner inside the building - a perfect reminder of the beautiful natural landscape that surrounds us. WINEMAKERS & PROPRIETORS: JOHN HILLIARD & CHRISTINE BRUCE Though husband and wife team John Hilliard and Christine Bruce grew up near one another in Houston as children, they didn’t meet again until after both had firmly established creative careers as adults. Christine was a horsewoman and a musician, and left Texas to study classical piano at Boston University before transferring to the Berklee College of Music. There she fell in love with the contemporary jazz music scene and began working as a professional keyboardist upon graduation. As a young man, John Hilliard studied finance and pursued a career selling maritime insurance, until deciding to follow his dreams of painting full-time. He was director and president of Diverse Works, a Houston-based arts organization, and a committee member for both the Museum of Fine Arts and the Glassell Artists in Residence Program. He later took over his family’s shipyard business, where he grew the company from one shipyard to four in just a few years. After they met, the couple took wine tasting classes together at Rice University, and earned certifications as Master Gardeners from Texas A & M and the University of Arizona. They bought a ranch together outside of Houston so Christine could continue her equestrian practice. Cultivation seems to come naturally to both of them, and it wasn’t long before they had not only a thriving garden with every possible vegetable that might grow in the Houston climate, but also a small breeding operation for Arabian horses. John and Christine left their home in Texas in 2002, after purchasing the 101-acre Hilliard Bruce ranch in the Sta. Rita Hills. Christine wanted a ranch where she could expand her business of breeding Arabian horses, and John was open to new adventures after surviving two life-threatening illnesses. With a love of wine and an eye for precision and design, they planted 21-acres to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, using their own background as gardeners, along with key advice from some of the industry’s best viticulturalists. To further their winemaking experience, they took courses at UC Davis Extension Program, Allan Hancock Viticulture and Enology Program, and the Grayson County College Viticulture and Enology Program. Today John and Christine are intimately involved with every step of running Hilliard Bruce Vineyard, from viticulture and winemaking to sales. Christine heads Hilliard Bruce’s Chardonnay production, while John focuses on several Pinot Noir bottlings. WWW.HILLIARDBRUCE.COM LARRY SCHAFFER – OWNER / WINEMAKER, TERCERO WINES The idea for tercero wines surfaced a number of years back. Larry Schaffer had been in the educational and trade publishing industry for a number of years and had achieved all he had set out to do. It was time for a change . . . . but to what? Larry’s dreams of becoming a professional volleyball player were never going to happen (heh heh heh), so he looked towards something he had always been interested in but neve


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