Behind the Bar Series: Conor

Well Ladies and Gents, our Winemaking Team has grown by one this September img_1188with the addition of chemical genius, Conor McCaney. Though Conor is no stranger to Hawk Haven, you might have even caught a glimpse of him grilling at our 2015 Island Grill Farm-to-Table Dinner.

Conor is a Cape May native and has spent countless summers cooking at restaurants around the island with his close friend, Chef Joshua Day (catch him cooking at the Harvest Wine Maker’s Dinner on October 15th).  Conor has quite a few degrees in fields ranging from Baking and Pastry, Culinary Arts, Business, and Chemistry from universities including the Culinary Institute of America and Saint Joseph’s University. He also has a background in chemistry and analytical chemistry.  As if that isn’t impressive enough, Conor has worked for wineries in Italy, Spain, and California.  He even has experience as a pastry chef/chef at restaurants in England, Spain, New York, and the Caribbean.  Now, Conor is bringing his worldly expertise to Hawk Haven’s Winemaking Team.  How did we get so lucky?

“The ability to work with strictly vinifera varietals and not hybrids was a definite factor,” Conor says of what brought him to our vineyard, “Hawk Haven has a great reputation and exciting future plans for expansion, but still wants to stay true to the initial goal of crafting premium wines.”

When Conor isn’t jamming out to Country music while hauling around barrels, he enjoys surfing traveling, golfing, and eating.  He depicts himself as a big history buff and needless to say, loves a great glass of wine.  His favorite Hawk Haven Wine is the 2014 Quill (coming to the tasting room later this winter).  He explains, “I am a big fan of blended wines as I feel they truly express the skill and understanding of the winemaker.  This particular wine has a majority percentage of Merlot, which is my favorite style of Bordeaux Blends.”

We are so happy to have Conor here, sharing his knowledge and experience with us to help us grow even more.  As far as we can tell, Conor has been enjoying his time with us as well, “I love the focus and williimg_5036ngness to experiment and adapt with new and better techniques to increase wine quality.”

Conor wants new wine drinkers to always keep an open mind and palate and to have a willingness to try new wines from anywhere in the world.

Come chat with Conor about all of his wine adventures, and maybe even ask him a few history questions while you’re at it.  You can also see Conor at the Harvest Wine Maker’s Dinner on October 15th as he assists Chef Joshua Day craft an unforgettable Farm-to-Table culinary experience.