When I asked Mark why he came to the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium,
he shared, "I have 12 wines in production. It's easy to get into the minutia of the wines.
Here, at the Unified, you get a wide angle view; a bigger perspective.”
I hear something along those lines from many wineries.
They can get stuck maintaining a business and pouring their wines.
It takes time and effort to taste other winemakers' wines and gather new information.
While at the Unified in Sacramento, Mark met with vendors. He was looking for, "Who's supporting Integrity Wines, vs. who's selling to Integrity Wines. One sells me barrels. One's my winemaking partner.”
There is a distinct difference.
With multiple French oak barrel suppliers to
choose from, Mark is looking for an extremely strong commitment to the keep quality he demands, while scaling up production.
Integrity Wines may be continuing to expand
as a business, but Mark stays focused on quality.
He began a program that includes weekly testing
in the vineyards during veraison (the onset of ripening.) Canopy, water, nutrition, and harvest time are all thoughtfully considered as well.
In the spirit of trying new things, each year Mark will make what he calls a "geek wine.” Something he particularly wants to make or try. "I don't operate in the world of regret,” he shared.
Mark did his research and discovered “Pinot Grigio to be one of the hottest white varietals.” His Pinot Grigio and Riesling took off as customer favorites. Rosewood bought out all the Riesling to sell by the glass.
Tasters can enjoy variety with Integrity Wines.
In the offering are 12 wines, each with their own depth and complexity.
Mark offers a coastal style Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay.
He has also added a Chablis style Chardonnay, which is more crisp, fresh, and bright in personality.
Watsonville is one of the produce capitals of California.
And Mark is proving there is room for wine too.
Up next, in my Unified Series, "5 Wine Trends to Keep and Eye On.”
Raise a toast to the classics, and to the new wines on the block!
Bridging the gap from the vineyard to the winemaker, John McKenna of Coppola shares with us....
Integrity Wines offers flights of wine on Aviation Way. The Integrity tasting room and production site is just steps from the Watsonville airport. Owner, Mark Hoover, recently opened the doors to his “urban winery.” Mark prefers to travel around and choose the grapes that he likes for his wines. He decided to skip the land and vineyards, source the grapes he wants, and focus on producing wines. It always helps to know your own goals and strengths. And Mark knows he would rather make wine than grow wine.
Mark has been making wine since the '80s with 2018 marking his third year of production. For some time his friends kept encouraging him and his talent for making wines. “What's stopping you from production?” they would ask. Well, that little thing called funding. Fast forward, and Mark's friends believed in him and his wines to the extent that they backed his business and the funding came through.
To his credit, Mark's wines are holding their own. His 2016 Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay won a Silver Metal in the Monterey National Wine Competition. Sip Integrity wines made with grapes from the Santa Lucia Highlands, Sonoma, Napa, and of course, local Bay Area vineyards.
The tasting party at Integrity Wines was made up of a small group of people, seven in all, from various ages and stages of life. So it was particularly fun to hear tasters' responses and comments on the wines!
Integrity wines are made “for people, by people.
”When pouring a bottle, you'll notice the thumbprint logo was placed
directly where one grabs the bottle.
I think of the thumbprint as a nod towards the tech industry, one's unique identity and authenticity.
For my tasting friend, the thumbprint brought to mind being honest, real, and one of a kind.
The thumbprint evokes images and meaning to each of us.
But in the end, what we put our hand to is very significant.
Mark Hoover has put his hand to making wines.
It's inspiring to see a new business in Watsonville and what that brings about.
The Mayor is one of Integrity's frequent customers. The winery offers commerce that promotes the town. And I think there's always a bit of a kid in all of us.
Who doesn't like watching planes take off and land?
Only as grown ups, now we can stop by Integrity Wines on our way.
Enjoy your next flight of wines.
Across the way is another Watsonville winery! Visit my post on Wargin Wines (link.)
When I take a sip of Wargin Wines I imagine I'm drinking an Old World wine that was grown in the warm Mediterranean—only these wines are from California. Wine maker Mikael Wargin has an adventurous and fearless side to his wine making. He's willing to try new varietals and new styles. All of this is done in his wine workshop housed in an industrial building in Watsonville.
Enjoy wines made from grapes sourced from a small net of California growers:
Wargin Wines are both table friendly and dinner
friendly. They have heft and body to them and are
more dense and chewy. They aren't the lean coastal
wines often seen from the area. These wines are more
fruit forward and slightly sweeter, but not sugary or
The wines have panache, but so do their bottle labels.
Take a look at Wargin Wines' site, under“Shop.”
Browsing through the wine labels and wine
descriptions is a pleasure. Each label has a clever
character icon, representing the wine—from a
merman, to a classical woman, to a weightlifter with a
glass of wine. The appealing art is outsourced and
Mikael and Denise Wargin are the wordsmiths behind the
...the sculpture is by Denise.
Have a try of Wargin's:
California grown, visit Wargin's wines.
Join me at California Wine