Nicky Hahn, Santa Lucia pioneer, dies

One of California’s pioneering vintners, Nicolaus ‘Nicky’ Hahn, who did much to establish the Santa Lucia Highlands and make Pinot Noir its main grape, has died at the age of 81.

Born in Switzerland in 1936, the son of a German-Jewish father and Christian mother who fled Germany as the Nazis rose to power, Hahn’s family eventually immigrated to New York where he grew up.

His path to wine was not an immediate one. Beginning with a project in South Africa to try and grow hybrid tomatoes, he then worked as a businessman in Paris, New York and London, becoming chairman of multinational software corporation, Computer Associates, in the process.

It wasn’t until the 1970s that Hahn turned his attention to winemaking but rather than pile into the quickly growing Napa Valley scene he instead purchased a cattle ranch with two small vineyards in the Santa Lucia mountain range of Monterey County in 1979.

Initially focusing on Cabernet Sauvignon he produced his first wine in 1980. As his son Philip told the SF Chronicle, it took his father, “14 years to figure out that this was the next big Burgundian region,” and, at great cost and risk, he ripped out his Cabernet in the late 1990s and early 2000s and replanted with Pinot Noir.

It was a gamble that paid off, however, and the Santa Lucia Highlands is predominantly planted with Pinot today and considered one of the US’s top Pinot-producing regions.

He was also heavily involved in leading the effort to have Santa Lucia Highlands recognised as an American Viticultural Region (AVA), which it was in 1991.

As well as his vineyards, in 1997 Hahn also bought a 50,000 acre wildlife preserve in Kenya’s Laikipia region, as a sanctuary not only for the local wildlife but its people as well.

Philip told Wine Spectator: “My father left me with one indelible lesson: There are many dreamers, but it is not enough to dream. We must also do.”

Hahn died aged 81 in Zurich on 2 March. He is survived by his wife, Gaby, and their children, Philip and Caroline.

One Response to “Nicky Hahn, Santa Lucia pioneer, dies”

  1. Onlineviagra says:

    Curly good to see you, your one of the last pioneers of Hatton garden keep well david

Leave a Reply to Onlineviagra Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Supply Chain Assistant

Speciality Drinks
London NW10 7SF, UK

On-Trade Regional Sales Manager

Anthony Byrne Fine Wines
West Midlands & Northants

Supply Chain Co-ordinator

Speciality Drinks
London NW10 7SF, UK

Logistics Team Leader

Speciality Drinks
London, UK

Key Account Executive

Berkmann Wine Cellars
London, UK

Assistant Operations Manager

Speciality Drinks
London, UK

Sales - Global Wine Competitions

The Drinks Business
London, UK

London Business Development Manager

Vine Distribution Services
Chelmsford, UK

Off-Trade Account Manager

Justerinis & Brooks
London, UK

Sales Account Manager x 2

Berkmann Wine Cellars
London, UK

Vinitaly 2019

Verona,Italy
7th Apr 2019

The Wine & Spirits Show

London,United Kingdom
12th Apr 2019

Vinexpo Bordeaux

Bordeaux,France
13th May 2019
Click to view more

The Global Riesling Masters 2018

View Results

Rioja Masters 2018

View Results

Click to view more