Eric Hamacher never intended to enter the winemaking business; his plan was to study medicine. But a discussion with a close family friend, a doctor, caused him to question his career choice. As he considered switching his path, many family friends in the wine industry offered their input. One invited Eric to Sonoma to work the harvest.
Eric found the labor fun and enjoyed how everyone worked toward a common goal. The family-oriented lifestyle attracted him, as did the seriousness of the curriculum at UC Davis. It quickly became apparent that winemaking was an intellectual pursuit.
More About Hamacher Wines
at right, Eric Hamacher on the Carlton Winemakers Studio processing floor
When he arrived in Oregon in the 1990s, he held a degree in viticulture and enology from UC Davis, and extensive winemaking knowledge gained from working 15 vintages numerous wineries around the world. Each winery, be it Mondavi, Chalone, Etude or others helped shape Eric's wine making style, almost all nudged him further and further in his pursuit of the perfect Pinot Noir and, ultimately, to Oregon, Pinot's Promised Land.
These experiences provided Eric with a new winery concept: the multiple winery facility. Eric's theory was that larger wineries with excess space could lease cellar space and equipment to smaller wineries in need of facilities benefiting both wineries. After considerable time and effort on his part, legislation was passed in Oregon and Eric's concept of a multiple winery facility became a reality.
What is important to Eric today is making the best wines he can while having a sustainable life and consistently doing things that are important to him. He and his family live on a 40-acre farm near Gaston in a historic farmhouse that has been in the Ponzi family for nearly half a century.
From the winery:
Winemaker Eric Hamacher
founded Hamacher Wines with his wife Luisa
Ponzi in 1995. Their objective was simple:
to handcraft high quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay
wines. By letting this goal guide the winery,
it has, in less than a decade, become one of
the most respected and sought after of Oregon's
many great producers. The relatively small
winery, which produces only 2,000 cases a year,
is featured in nearly a dozen markets in the
U.S. and exported around the world.