HANNA Winery has its roots on a farm in Syria where Dr. Elias S. Hanna, a world-renowned cardiac surgeon now based in San Francisco, was born and raised. His family grew a variety of crops, including grapevines, and for him, a vineyard offered both tranquility and promise. "After I moved to San Francisco and started my practice, I was anxious to find a place in the country,” Dr. Hanna says. “I missed the pace of farm life." Beginning with 12 acres in the Russian River Valley purchased in the 1970s, he and his children began their foray into winemaking with homemade Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. In the mid-1980s, Dr. Hanna hired a winemaker and expanded the vineyard holdings. Today, the Hanna family owns 600 acres, 250 of which are planted, split between four different vineyards. Dr. Hanna's eldest daughter Christine has been running the winery for over 20 years.
In the Russian River appellation, the Home Ranch on Occidental Road is HANNA’s flagship vineyard, with 25 acres planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Home Ranch also serves as the winery production facility. The charming tasting room offers a view of the vineyards and a place for visitors to picnic.
Many of HANNA's red wines come from the 88-acre Alexander Valley Red Ranch vineyard, planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec. The vineyard is also the site of Hanna's Hospitality Center and hosts special events and a variety of winery functions. With a panoramic view of the Alexander Valley, the Hospitality Center's wrap-around veranda is an idyllic spot to savor a glass of one of Hanna's new releases.
The jewel in the HANNA crown is the Bismark Mountain Ranch. This vineyard sits high atop the Mayacamas Mountains. Cabernet, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Syrah, Petit Syrah and Zinfandel are grown on the steeply terraced hillsides. "It's like standing on top of the world!" says Christine Hanna, who has taken over from her father to run the winery. "The 1997 harvest was the first time we brought the fruit down from the mountain.The level of concentration and intensity in flavor make for astounding wines. After the extreme challenge of developing a mountainside vineyard, the Bismark wines are the just reward." Both Robert Parker and Wine Spectator's James Laube have given the Bismark wines excellent ratings.
As family-owned wineries become increasingly rare, the Hanna family business has more meaning than ever. As HANNA Winery reaches its 25th anniversary, Christine sees signs that her son, daughter and nephews may well become a third generation in the wine business. "Our aim is to cultivate something that can go on for generations,” she says. “If we keep striving for quality in the vineyard and winery, my guess is that our children will feel the calling."