Founded in 1994 by Don and Jennifer Jackson Hartford, Hartford Family Winery specializes in intensely concentrated, limited production Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and old-vine Zinfandel. Their high-risk, high-reward, highly acclaimed wines trace their origins to low-yielding vineyards set in marginal climates. These include the main wine estate in the Russian River Valley in addition to prime locations in the Russian River Valley, Green Valley, Carneros, Sonoma Coast, Anderson Valley, Oregon and Santa Barbara. Stressed vines culminate in big personality wines – a virtue the family attributes to “character through adversity.”
Hartford Family Winery
Safeguarding Old-Vine Zinfandel
The Hartford family are old-vine pioneers, nurturing and protecting some of the oldest vineyards in California. Their vineyards range in age from 80 to more than 100 years. With age, comes beauty and pizzazz, as these elderly vines produce some of the most energetic wines, with layers of red and dark fruit flavors, silky tannins, tension and precision. Hartford’s Russian River Valley Zinfandel comes from dry-farmed, low-yielding centenarian (and older) vineyards. Artisan techniques—hand harvesting, indigenous yeast fermentation, French oak aging, and no fining or filtration—are used to express the Russian River Valley’s cool-climate terroir.
Meet the winemakers
A native Californian and avid skier, Jeff Stewart first bit the wine bug during a summer trip to France, where he became fascinated with wine’s importance to French dining, lifestyle and culture. We have France and a very smart high school chemistry teacher to thank for Jeff’s decision to forego a skiing career and attend UC Davis’ Viticulture and Enology program. For 25 years, he has been crafting award-winning Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and old-vine Zinfandel in the Russian River Valley and Sonoma County. While Jeff’s style in the cellar is minimalist, he still leaves it all out there on the slopes. And if you meet him at the winery, ask him what the deal is with being a Phish follower.
Tiann Lordon joined Hartford Family Winery as in intern in 2010, working his way up to winemaker in 2018. A South African native, his plans to go into conservation ecology were diverted after working in the tasting rooms of his friends’ family wineries. After working harvests in South Africa and Healdsburg, he completed a second degree at Elsenburg Agricultural College in viticulture and enology. He served as associate winemaker at French-owned Marianne Wine Estate in Stellenbosch before returning to Sonoma and joining Hartford. We have Tiann to thank for introducing extremely tasty Chenin Blanc to the family’s portfolio.