It’s a long way to Tipperary,
It’s a long way to go.
It’s a long way to Hard Row to Hoe,
For it’s surely a place you’ll want to go.
Ok, so that song doesn’t exactly go like that, but it’s of a similar theme. Hard Row to Hoe’s name, is just what you were thinking. The name is based upon the fact that once upon a time you could take a row boat from Lucerne to Point Lovely, near Manson to, as story goes, “to support a ‘thriving enterprise.’” Welcome to Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards.
Echoes of the past are touched upon throughout the winery. As soon as you walk into the tasting room, set a bit off of the main road I might add, you’ll ask yourself if you are in a winery or some other place of business? The walls have a deep red color and there are keys and photos of foregone ladies of the region. Racy lighting hangs over the bar and a bright red light indicates that the restroom is occupied. Yes, this is a tasting room.
After realizing that yes, you are here to taste wine, it was time to mosey on up to the bar and to decide what it is your taste buds are going to tingle with. Do you start with Good in bed Champagne or a taste of the Shameless Hussy Viognier or rosé? At Hard Row to Hoe the rosé is made with one of my personal favorite grapes—the Grenache.
But the names don’t stop there. You can also taste the S&M, Syrah and Malbec (what were you thinking?) or a Burning Desire Cabernet Franc. Along with the racy names, Hard Row also has a standard lineup of other wines, which includes a Barbera, a Tempranillo and a Primitivo.
Hard Row’s grapes straddle the two predominant wine regions of France: Bordeaux and the Rhone Valley. For the Malbec & Cabernet Franc is inherently Bordeaux but the Grenache, the Marsanne/Roussanne blend and the Viognier are grapes from the Rhone Valley. Of course, sometimes you just want to go south, with the Tempranillo hailing from Spain.
Hard Row to Hoe’s wines show how versatile, and flexible the growing conditions of Lake Chelan can be. If you’re loving the wine, go ahead and jump into the oar house, Hard Row’s wine club. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can upgrade and double dip, choosing to receive twice as many bottles as you would be receiving from the oar house and a 20% or a 25% discount on the wines respectively. That’s one of the higher default discounts on a wine club around.
If you’re not too intoxicated after sampling those aforementioned wines, dive into the two dessert wines: a dessert, port-style wine with lace around the bottle, and a vermouth. After all, don’t all wineries have lace on their port and produce vermouth?
While I claim to know a little bit about wine, I am completely in the dark when it comes to Vermouth. The only thing I know about the liquor is that it goes with my Gin in a dry martini. But what’s it doing in a tasting room?
Much to my surprise, Vermouth is inherently made from wine. But like chefs cooking chicken, there are a slew of things that can be added to make Vermouth have it’s own characteristics: from herbs to sugar. Hard Row’s vermouth is infused with Brandy and locally sourced organic herbs (no, not those herbs Washington state).
To top off the last tasting, the staff at Hard Row served up the Vermouth in classic, turn of century glassware, more attributed to Tiffany than Ikea or Crate & Barrel.
Unlike the former namesake, it’s ok to leave with something. A fridge sits in the corner if you want to take something cold so you can uncork it soon. In addition to chilled wine in the fridge, Hard Row to Hoe also has 6-packs of cider available. It’s a crisp refreshing apple-based cider. After an entire day of wine tasting, it was a refreshing change.
Hard Row has wine by the glass and by the bottle for you to sit outside on the patio or out on the grass. A rowboat with the winery’s name can also be found on the lawn, along with pink adirondack chairs. Hello Instagram. (#beyondnapavalley)
The winery is open year round. As long as their flag is flying, the door is unlocked. The winery is located just about a 5-10 minute drive from downtown Manson.