Good Wine Comes in Threes
In October 2016, husband and wife Rob Kobrzynski and Christine Pucciarello left their lives in the corporate world to embark on a new winemaking journey by purchasing the historic Whitehall Corners property in Hawley, Pennsylvania.
This pilgrimage of fermentation made sure to pay homage to the rich tradition upon which it was built. Whitehall Corners was originally the homestead of the Hammer brothers, Israel, Eli, and Abel.
Since the three brothers sowed the first seeds on the 15 acre property, the land has changed hands seven times. Despite time and ownership, their original farmhouse, built in 1820, still stands proudly beside the winery as a tribute to the past. Similarly, the winery’s name is a tasteful salute to the eponymous brothers who tilled the land two centuries ago.
Kobrzynski and Pucciarello entered the winery business without a formal winemaking background. Instead, they brought with them over a quarter-century of expertise in marketing and finance, respectively. Their broad professional backgrounds, coupled with their passion for wine and extensive travels to wineries around the world, have created a vision for an immersive wine experience for their guests.
Though the Poconos is home to more than a dozen wineries, Kobrzynski says that what elevates his winery above the rest is a matter of philosophy.
“We set out to create dry, good quality wines in the West Coast, French style that aren’t sugar bombs.”
With help from a wine consultant, they use varietals sourced from vineyards in California, Washington, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and the Finger Lakes in their unique winemaking process. This process focuses on developing wine that is flavorful and distinctly food-friendly, without being overwhelmingly sweet. Winemakers use a metric called Residual Sugar (or RS) to describe the natural grape sugars leftover in a wine after the alcoholic fermentation finishes. While many wineries produce sweet wines with RS in excess of 7%, Three Hammers holds their sweetest wines to 4.5%.
Kobrzynski recognizes that “everyone’s palette is different.” Although their focus is on dry wines, their sweeter blends will satisfy those with a saccharine predisposition.
Recently, the West Chester-based tasting competition The Wine Men of Wednesday featured the 2018 Three Hammers Merlot in its weekly “Winner’s Circle.”
Each week the group samples different wines from around the world and ranks them based on fruit intensity, aroma, tannins, bitterness, acidity, mouthfeel, and sugariness.
The Merlot was not only the first Pennsylvania wine to finish first, but it also enjoyed the largest margin of victory in the history of the competition; with nearly every participant ranking it first.
Austin Aurillo, the Wine Men of Wednesday member who entered the Merlot in the competition, had recently visited the winery in Hawley.
“Our experience at Three Hammers Winery was nothing short of amazing. This hidden gem in the Poconos emanates old-farmhouse rustic charm with a unique selection of delicious wines that are actually barreled on-site! You will leave feeling like part of the Three Hammers Winery family; we can’t wait to come back!”
Despite their recent success, the Three Hammers Winery is still far from its zenith. Their bottles are currently available for purchase exclusively from their tasting room. In the future, however, they hope to expand their inventory and extend distribution to local restaurants and eventually into New York, where a large portion of their clientele lives.
They also have plans to introduce an “Adopt-a-Vine” program at the winery to grow the educational outreach of the brand. The program will give guests the opportunity to learn about how the fruit grows and matures as well as more technical elements like canopy management and pruning.