It started out simple in 2008 when three wine business veterans and life-long fishermen, Mark Seymour, John Heus and Stephen Cary launched the High Hook brand. They had three basic goals. First, they wanted to make really good wine that shows the true fruit character of the grapes and the subtle mineral and other earthy qualities of the vineyard. Second, they thought it would be a good idea to make just a little bit of money to support their bad habits (fishing) and have some fun doing it. And third, they wanted to do some good with some of the profits and tie it all in with their passion for fishing and the environment. Hence, High Hook Wines, the striped bass on the label and their involvement with conservation and charitable organizations like Trout Unlimited.
The term “High Hook” probably originated on Cuttyhunk Island, the outermost of the Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. In 1864, a group of wealthy Manhattan business tycoons, unhappy with a flap over the rules and regulations in their striped bass fishing club in Rhode Island, went looking for a suitable place to establish their own club. They found Cuttyhunk, wound up purchasing most of it, and formed the Cuttyhunk Fishing Association. Eventually, there would be a total of fifty members, among them some of the most powerful men in America at the time. The member who caught the biggest striper was referred to as the “High Hook”, and was given a diamond-studded pin in the shape of a fish hook. The term is still widely used and, depending on what state you’re in, refers to the person who catches either the biggest fish or the most fish. It’s also used more generally as an indicator of excellence.
High Hook makes three wines, all from the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Pinot blanc, pinot noir and pinot noir rose. The pinot blanc is made specifically to be a great match with seafood and shellfish. It’s all about fruit, minerals and great acidity. The pinot noir is typically Oregon in style, fairly intensely-flavored yet still refined and elegant. It’s characterized by smoky black cherry and red raspberry aromas and flavors. High Hook Rose is Provence style — pale orange to pale pink, depending on the vintage, and always dry on the finish. It reflects the bright, red fruit characteristics of the pinot noir in a rose style wine.
High Hook’s commitment to excellence is in every bottle. And on every label is their motto: “Love life. Go fishing. Care for the planet. Drink wine.” Who can argue with that?
We’re proud to have High Hook Oregon Wines as a TU Business Member.
High Hook is available throughout the northeast and is distributed by Winebow, Inc.
High Hook Oregon Wines
T. Mark Seymour
Leverett, MA 01054