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Heart & Hands Wine Company

Owner(s) Susan Higgins, Tom Higgins
Web site www.heartandhandswine.com
 
Link to this site
Heart & Hands Wine Company

Tom Higgins grew up in the Finger Lakes region of New York. While still in high school, he worked at Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards learning both winemaking and tasting room management. He studied accounting and information systems in college, thinking that the technology field was a great way to make a quick buck and allow him to eventually have his own winery. He entered the technology industry during the dot-com boom of the 1990s, and met his future spouse, Susan, who was also a wine lover, while they were both on corporate assignment in Ohio.

Tom quickly longed to return to the wine industry and told me, “The tech industry was interesting for a while, but there were just too many 3:00 A.M. ‘emergency’ pages among other irritating things.” He left his job and started working for Zachy’s Wine & Liquor in Scarsdale, New York. This was an eye-opening education into the world of wine. The connections he made at Zachy’s enabled him to work in Bordeaux at Chateau La Lagune and learn old world winemaking techniques. Unfortunately, at the time, Domaine Romanee-Conti already had an intern and Domaine Dujac felt like they had helped enough young American winemakers with their success.

Upon his return to the states, Tom worked a harvest at Calera Wine Company in California. He then ventured back to the Finger Lakes, working for Thirsty Owl Wine Company and Atwater Estate Vineyards, while preparing to launch his own winery, Heart & Hands Wine Company. I met Tom at Thirsty Owl Wine Company during a trip I made to the Finger Lakes a few years ago. His spouse, Susan spent many vacation weekends in the Finger Lakes and after obtaining an MBA from New York University Stern School of Business, the couple were married and Susan works for a leading management consultant firm when not assisting Tom with winemaking activities. The winery was founded in 2006.

A suitable site for a vineyard and winery was chosen on a gently sloping hillside overlooking the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake. The site is ideal for Pinot Noir and Riesling, with soils redolent of Onondaga Limestone with outcroppings of shale. The proximity to the lake and the gently sloping site offer the future vineyard protection from harsh winter weather. In 2008, winery construction was completed and a tasting room opened the following year.

As the 6-acre estate vineyard is developed, Heart & Hands has obtained acreage contracts with several premier winegrowers including Sawmill Creek Vineyard and Hobbit Hollow Farm. Current production consists of Pinot Noir, Brut Rosé, Polarity (a Pinot Noir Blanc) and Riesling. The Claddagh ring on the label is the traditional Irish wedding ring symbolizing friendship and togetherness (the hands), love (the heart), and loyalty and fidelity (the crown). It is worn by people of Irish descent the world over as a source of pride in their heritage. At Hearts & Hands, the Claddagh symbolizes the Higgins’ passion for wine and loyalty to their customers.

Heart & Hands Wine Company is located at 4162 State Route 90N, Union Springs, New York. Total production is 2,100 cases of which 1,300 cases are Pinot Noir. The tasting room is open on weekends from 12:00 to 5:00 and weekdays by appointment. The wines are available online at www.heartandhandswine.com. For further information, consult this video and winery review by Jason Feulner, Finger Lakes Correspondent: http://lennthompson.typepad.com/lenndevours/2009/07/

Reviewed Wines

2012 Heart and Hands Polarity Finger Lakes White Wine

12.3% alc., pH 3.43, TA 0.60, residual sugar 0g/L, 62 cases, $26. 100% Pinot Noir, whole cluster pressed with minimal skin contact. Barrel fermented on the lees with gentle stirring every few days. Aged 9 months in oak barrels. A Pinot Noir blanc. · Very light apricot color and clear in the glass. Aromas of honeydew, almond and chalk dust lead to flavors of muted cherry, tangerine, kumquat zest, persimmon and vanilla cream. A delicate, but unique wine, with robust acidity and a very seductive creamy mouth feel. Score: 88. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 Heart & Hands Finger Lakes Pinot Noir

11.8% alc., pH 3.51, TA 0.66, 628 cases, $21. Sourced from Patrician Verona, Elaine’s and Hobbit Hollow vineyards. Yields 1.9 tons per acre. 50% whole cluster. Aged in 32% new French oak barrels. · Light reddish-salmon color in the glass. Delicate aromas of red cherries, red raspberries, dried herbs and the slightest oak. Very demure and elegant, but offering pleasant flavors of red fruits and some satisfying cherry on the finish. The oak is slightly imposing and there is a subtle canned vegetal note in the background. Score: 85. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 Heart & Hands Brut Rosé Finger Lakes Sparkling Wine

12.5% alc., 115 cases, $25.99. Grown on shore of Seneca Lake. Whole cluster pressed and fermented in a stainless steel tank. · Pretty pink salmon color. Perfume of alpine strawberries and cranberries. Red fruited with imbedded citrus and minerality and slight alpine, herb note in the background. Slightly creamy with a healthy bead. Very crisp and completely dry. A satisfying offering. Reviewed December 8, 2012 ARTICLE »

2011 Heart & Hands Polarity Finger Lakes Pinot Noir Blanc

12.8% alc., pH 3.41, TA 0.62, 101 cases, $26.99, Vino-Loc closure. Whole cluster pressed Pinot Noir with limited skin contact. Barrel fermented with gentle lees stirring. Aged 9 months in French oak. · Faint honey, apricot color in the glass. Aromas of baked pear, grilled peach and blonde caramel. Unusual and challenging to taste with flavors of white stone fruits, toffee, and vanilla. Relatively light on its feet with a good cut of acidity on the dry finish. Good. Reviewed December 8, 2012 ARTICLE »

2011 Heart & Hands Elaine’s Vineyard Finger Lakes Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., pH 3.86, TA 0.67, 24 cases, $30.99, Vino-Lok closure Vineyard is a tribute to Elaine Hazlitt, a pioneer in the Finger Lakes wine industry. Located on the shores of Seneca Lake. Vineyard manager is John Santos. Yields 2.4 tons per acre. 100% whole cluster. Aged in Francois Frères French oak barrels. Unfiltered. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with scents of deep red berries, black cherries and a hint of stem. Moderately light in weight but flavorful featuring dark cherries and cranberries. Elegant with mild dry tannins and some length on the finish. Whole cluster is evident but in a good, non-vegetal way. Very good. Reviewed December 8, 2012 ARTICLE »

2011 Heart & Hands Hobbit Hollow Vineyard Finger Lakes Pinot Noir

12.1% alc., pH 3.79, TA 0.65, 24 cases, $30.99, Vino-Lok closure. Vineyard is located on the shores of the western side of Skaneateles Lake. Owner is Mike Falcone and vineyard manager is Paul Wellington. Yields 1.4 tons per acre. 100% whole cluster. Aged in Francois Frères French oak barrels. Unfiltered. · Light reddish-purple color in the glass. An intriguing wine offering aromas of cherries, creme soda, vanilla, and sandalwood. Light and elegant with flavors of fresh cherries, oak vanillin, spice and bacon. Gentle, dry tannins and bright acidity make for easy drinking. Still holding nicely two days later from a previously opened and recorked bottle. Very good. Reviewed December 8, 2012 ARTICLE »

2011 Heart & Hands Patrician Verona Vineyard Finger Lakes Pinot Noir

12.7% alc., 24 cases, $30.99, Vino-Lok closure. Vineyard is located on the western side of Cayuga Lake. Vineyard manager is Cameron Hosmer. Yields 2.3 tons per acre. 100% whole cluster. Aged in Francois Frères French oak barrels. Unfiltered. · Light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of darker cherry pie filling, compost, and leather. Tasty array of cherry, raspberry and spice flavors on a light, elegant base. Fresh, juicy and round with some length on the finish. A little mushroom and green garden is noted in the background. Good Reviewed December 8, 2012 ARTICLE »

2011 Heart & Hands Elaine’s Vineyard Finger Lakes Pinot Noir

11.9% alc., pH 3.68, TA 0.67, 49 cases, $31. This vineyard overlooks the eastern shores of Seneca Lake. Vineyard manager John Santos employs balanced vine strategy. Yield 2.1 tons per acre. 100% whole cluster. Unfined and unfiltered. · Light reddish-salmon color in the glass. Charming aromas of cherries, rose petal, baking spice and herbal oak. Good intensity of cherry flavor with a hint of brown spice, rose water and complimentary oak. Noticeable but not intrusive tannins with an uplifting backbone of acidity. A juicy wine with some charm. Score: 88. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 Heart & Hands Hobbit Hollow Vineyard Finger Lakes Pinot Noir

12.3% alc., pH 3.75, TA 0.62, 49 cases, $31. This vineyard is located on the western side of Skaneateles Lake on the lakeshore. The owner is Mike Falcone and the vineyard manager is Paul Wellington. Yield 1.8 tons per acre. 100% whole cluster. Unfined and unfiltered. · Light reddish-salmon color in the glass. More intense cherry aroma and flavor in this wine with a dusting of oak and spice. The firm but not astringent tannins are supportive and the mid palate fruit carries over nicely to the satisfying and juicy finish. Score: 89. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 Heart & Hands Patrician Verona Vineyard Finger Lakes Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., pH 3.50, TA 0.66, 49 cases, $31. This vineyard is located on the western side of Cayuga Lake. Yield 2.3 tons per acre. 100% whole cluster. Unfined and unfiltered. · Light reddish-salmon color in the glass. Complex and enticing nose offering scents of black cherry, spice, forest floor, deep red rose petal and toast. Very flavorful with a core of fresh cherry fruit accented by red currant and dried herb tastes. Modest in weight with integrated tannins, supportive oak and an appealingly polished demeanor. Score: 90. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 Heart and Hands Finger Lakes Pinot Noir

12.4% alc., pH 3.71, TA 0.61, 421 cases, $20.99, Vino-Seal closure. Composed of three vineyard sources with 54% coming from Patrician Verona Vineyard. Aged 12 months in 29% new Francois Frères French oak barrels. · Very light red color in the glass. The nose picks up interest over time in the glass, showing pleasing aromas of red berries, red cherries, spice and bramble. Light in body, but offering pleasant flavors of fresh cherries and strawberries with an undertone of savory herbs, finishing with a tangy cherry note. Good (+). Reviewed July 23, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Heart and Hands Polarity Finger Lakes White Pinot Noir

12.7% alc., pH 3.63, TA 0.76, 81 cases, $26.99. Whole cluster pressed with limited skin contact. Fermented in barrels with lees stirring postfermentation. Aged 9 months in barrel. · Delicate orange color. A chameleon of a nose with aromas changing constantly, the most notable of which are strawberries, white peaches, buttered brioche, vanilla and herbs. Delicious and soft and smooth in the mouth with an array of red and white fruit flavors that challenge your perception of Pinot Noir. The fruit is beautifully framed by bright acidity and the tannins are supple, combining to add to the contemplative experience. Simply put, a great wine. Reviewed July 23, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Heart & Hands Barrel Reserve Finger Lakes Pinot Noir

12.3% alc., pH 3.78, TA 0.62, 320 cases, $41. 54% Hobbit Hollow, 31% Elaine’s, and 23% Patrician Verona vineyards. Yield 2.0 tons per acre. 100% whole cluster. A barrel selection, aged 18 months in 52% new and 48% used Francois Frères oak barrels. · Light reddish-salmon color in the glass. Strikingly aromatic with hi-tone scents of red berries, red cherries, brown spice, molasses, beet root and spice. Very elegant and charming with a tasteful array of fruits including red cherries, red raspberries and cranberries. Wonderful whole cluster spice and a hint of root beer. Modest in weight with balanced tannins, a bright acid backbone and a wholesome finish of some persistence. Very exotic and interesting. At the end of the day, when I had a dozen opened wines to choose from, many of which were from California, this was the wine I chose to drink before and with dinner. Score: 93. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2009 Heart and Hands Barrel Reserve Finger Lakes Pinot Noir

12.7% alc.m pH 3.71, TA 0.54, 324 cases. 100% whole cluster. Aged 18 months in 46% new and 54% used Francois Frères French oak barrels. · Moderately light red color in the glass. Ripe cherry and berry fruit on the nose with hints of marzipan and acetaldehyde. The most intensely flavored Pinot Noir in the lineup with the longest finish. Robust taste of black cherries and dark raspberries with plenty of supporting structural integrity. Very Good. Reviewed July 23, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 Heart and Hands Finger Lakes Pinot Noir

12.6% alc., pH 3.78, TA 0.61, 467 cases. Yields 2.1 tons per acre. Four vineyards with Sawmill Creek Vineyard making up 57% of the blend. Aged 12 months in 19% new Francois Frères French oak barrels. · Light red color in the glass. Aromas of ripe cherries, raisin, porto, spice and aromatic herbs. Light and soft in the mouth with herbal-toned red fruit flavors and a delicate finish. Decent (+). Reviewed July 23, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 Heart and Hands Hobbit Hollow Vineyard Finger Lakes Pinot Noir

12.6% alc., pH 3.73, TA 0.61, 25 cases. Yields 1.9 tons per acre. Aged in 50% new Francois Frères French oak barrels. · Light reddish color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with fresh aromas of red cherry pie glaze, sandalwood and briar. Delicious core of well-ripened red cherries and berries. Crisp with some polish and length, but the tannins outweigh the fruit. Good. Reviewed July 23, 2012 ARTICLE »

2008 Heart and Hands Brut Rosé Finger Lakes Sparkling Wine

12.7% alc., pH 3.18, 33 cases. From Seneca Lake vineyards. Fermented 23 hours on the skins at 56 degrees for color extraction, whole cluster basket pressed, 16-day fermentation in stainless steel. Secondary fermentation in the bottle and the wine was disgorged on January 20, 2009. · Pale red raspberry color in the glass. Aromas of strawberries, yeast and petrichor. Crisp, with a good bead, and flavors of red berries and herbs with a spirited, acid-driven, dry finish. Good. Reviewed July 23, 2012 ARTICLE »

2008 Heart and Hands Barrel Reserve Finger Lakes Pinot Noir

12.9% alc., pH 3.69, TA 0.58, 195 cases, $39.99. Yields 1.9 tons per acre from Sawmill Creek and Hobbit Hollow Vineyards. 100% whole cluster. Aged in 38% new Francois Frères French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherries, spice, vanillin, oak spice and stem. Light and elegant flavors of black cherries, cranberries and raspberries with a leafy, tea and herbal riff in the background. The tannins outweigh the fruit by a tad. Impressive finishing length. Good (+). Reviewed July 23, 2012 ARTICLE »

2007 Heart & Hands Finger Lakes Brut Rosé

12.7% alc., pH 3.18, 32 cases. 100% Pinot Noir grown on Seneca Lake vineyards. Grapes were fermented 23 hours on the skins. Whole clusters were then gently pressed with a basket press and transferred to stainless steel for a 16-day fermentation. Secondary fermentation was induced in the bottle and the wine was disgorged January 20, 2009. · Pale rose color. Scents of strawberries, red roses and a hint of yellow peach. Clean and crisp flavors of fresh berries, persimmon and a faint herbal note. A perfect summer wine. Reviewed September 5, 2009 ARTICLE »

2007 Heart & Hands Finger Lakes Barrel Reserve Pinot Noir

13.1% alc., pH 3.63, 146 cases, $40, both cork and Vino-Seal closures. Unusually warm and dry growing season causing more of a West Coast influence on the wine. Twenty-three 90+ degree days which thickened skins for more color and flavor extraction. 75% clone 115 and 25% clone 777 cropped at 1.7 tons per acre. 100% whole cluster. 11-day fermentation, basket pressed, and aged for 18 months in 66% new and 33% once-used Francois Freres French oak barrels. · Brooding nose initially that opened with swirling to reveal dark fruits, especially black raspberry, a hint of spice, smoke and incense. Held up beautifully in the glass over time. On the attack, the wine was full-bodied with a substantial tannic backbone. Plentiful dark fruits were complimented by an earthy underpinning and a faint note of grapefruit peel on the finish. Silky and beautifully composed, but still needing time for the tannins to soften and integrate. Amazing fruit intensity but not jammy, with the acidity holding forth to reign in the hedonistic fruit and tannins. Would recommend decanting now or cellaring for a couple of years. A very, very impressive wine like nothing I had ever previously tasted from the Finger Lakes region. Given the proper weather, viticulture management, and in the hands of a talented winemaker, the potential for premium Finger Lakes Pinot Noir is exemplified here. Reviewed September 5, 2009 ARTICLE »

2006 Heart & Hands Finger Lakes Pinot Noir

12.6% alc., pH 3.52, 232 cases, $20, Vino-Seal. September marked by rain prolonging harvest. Clone 115 cropped at 2 tons per acre. 50% whole cluster with manual punch downs twice daily. 13-day fermentation without cold soak or extended maceration. Basket press used for extraction. Aged in 40% new and 60% once-used Francois Freres oak barrels. · Lovely aromatics initially featuring strawberries, cherries, red licorice and nutmeg. With time in the glass, notes of raisins and marzipan emerged. The palate was quite charming initially with red fruits, sassafras, spice, and mocha and was silky smooth with bright acidity and reigned-in tannins. Over time the fruit intensity faded with acidity coming to the forefront, and I was looking for some food to compliment the wine. Reviewed September 5, 2009 ARTICLE »