Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Checking in with Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards: Red Cat Cellars, Harvest 2011, and more

I had the chance this week to chat with Brad Phillips, Director of Marketing at Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards.  Hazlitt is a name synonymous with family, history, farming, and wine in Finger Lakes Wine Country.  The winery is home to many award-winning wines including the ever-popular Red Cat. Arguably best known for this famous furry face and the laid back beachy atmosphere, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards also continues to be recognized for their Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, and other Vinifera (European) varieties.

Brad was able to fill me in on their latest endevour with the new Red Cat Cellars. Located in Naples, NY. Listen to the 15-minute podcast and get the full story behind Red Cat Cellars below.

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Due to the continuing growth and brand popularity of Red Cat wine (topping 126,000 cases per year) Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards purchased the old Widmer Wine Cellars facility  in Naples, NY, from Constellation Brands in Spring 2010. The new sign is just one of the many changes that have taken place on the property. Hazlitt’s Red Cat Cellars has invested more than $1 million into the facility including a state-of-the-art crush area with Bucher Vaslin presses. Co-owners, Leigh Hazlitt Triner and Doug Hazlitt have also focused on aggressive grounds maintenance and property beautification; restoring the facility to a scenic focal point in the town of Naples. Hazlitt’s Red Cat Cellars has also recently launched East Coast Crush & Co-Pack (EC3), a functioning subsidiary company within Hazlitt’s Red Cat Cellars that offers bin to bottle grape crush, winemaking, co-packaging and warehousing for the beverage industry.

The new 3+ million gallon production facility not only now makes Red Cat (the No. 1-selling domestic wine in the state of New York) but also other well known Hazlitt brands such as Bramble Berry, White Cat and Cabin Fever.

“We are excited to officially unveil the recent renovations made at Hazlitt’s Red Cat Cellars including our brand new tower sign,” said Doug Hazlitt. “We were careful to maintain the historic look and feel of the grounds and facility while also investing millions to invigorate and revitalize the former Widmer Wine Cellars site,” he continued.

“We wanted to create a sense of pride for Naples considering Widmer has a very longstanding and rich history in the region going all the way back to 1882,”said Leigh Hazlitt Triner. “We are thrilled to be a part of the Naples community and look forward to many more years to come.”

The weekend of Sept. 24 and 25, Hazlitt’s Red Cat Cellars will be a corporate sponsor of the annual Naples Grape Festival. The Hazlitt’s Red Cat Cellars tent will offer wine tastings, logo merchandise, food and music. Held on the Naples High School grounds, the festival is from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., rain or shine.

The Hazlitt family has been growing superb grapes on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake, NY for over 150 years. Established in 1984, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards continues the family tradition of award-winning viticulture and wine production. In 2010, Hazlitt’s Red Cat Cellars was founded when the Hazlitt family purchased the 3+ million gallon Widmer Wine Cellars in Naples, New York from Constellation Brands.

The family’s internationally renowned wines include Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Cabernet Franc. Most notably, Hazlitt is infamous for its Red Cat, White Cat and Cabin Fever – some of the most popular and best-selling New York State wines available. For more information, please visit:, or

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