HITCHING POST WINERY
Hartley-Ostini Hitching Post wines are made by Buellton Hitching Post
owner/chef Frank Ostini and his good friend, former fisherman Gray
Hartley. Frank and Gray
first made wine at home in 1979. They found their first
Pinot Noir in 1981. The project moved to a winery in 1984 to make
wines exclusively for the Hitching Post Restaurant. From 1991 to
Frank and Gray made their wines at Au Bon Climat/Qupe Winery, and from
2001 to 2007 at Central Coast Wine Services in Santa
has grown from 1200 cases in 1991 to 4700 in 2001 to over 15,000 cases
in 2007. With the 2008 harvest, Frank and Gray have moved the
winemaking to Terravant Winery, a new ultra premium facility in
Buellton, just 1.5 miles from the Hitching Post II. Winery tours and
tastings will be available in Spring 2009.
Their passioned focus has been to work with the California Central
Coast's best vineyards produce many Pinot Noirs, a couple Syrahs and a
Cabernet Franc blend. With a cool marine-influence climate and
unusually long growing season, many of these grapes make wines that
drink well when young and had have shown the ability to improve and age
gracefully for many years.
Frank & Gray work with some of the best growers in Santa Barbara
County, from the quality vineyards of Santa Maria Valley, Santa Ynez
Valley, Santa Rita Hills and Los Alamos. The grapes are picked in the
early morning and destemed into 1.5 ton open-top fermentation vats.
Cold maceration is allowed for several days, then a cultured yeast is
added to promote a long and cool fermentation.
Then comes the manual
punch downs from one to three times/day depending on the stage of
fermentation. Pressing occurs after 14-21 days directly into barrel (no
settling of solids). The wine rests in barrel until racking just before
bottling. Most wines are aged in French Oak barrels for 18 months and
are bottled unfiltered.
Frank and Gray believe that great wines are made in the vineyard. Their
winemaking philosophy is that they are caretakers who guide the wine
into the bottle. As the wine matures it is simply left to gently age in
the barrel. This minimalist approach allows Hartley-Ostini Hitching
Post wines to reflect the character of the vineyard and the vintage,
preserving the essence of the grape for you to enjoy when you open the
A great example of these wines is the Hartley-Ostini Hitching Post
HIGHLINER. Highliner is one of the best fishermen in the fleet, and
this name honors the great men of the Alaskan Salmon Fishery alongside
whom Gray Hartley worked for 28 years. A special wine, it is meant to
be the best of their of Pinot. And, of course, Highliner became the featured wine in the film Sideways.