Last fall, Amy Dickerson and I took a top secret trip to Santa Rosa, where we hung out with winemaker Kenny Likitprakong for a day in the life of his harvest. The fruits of our labor (and his) are currently out—ours in print, his in bottles. What a thrill to spend a day with Kenny and his crew—his crew being comprised of a few hardworking wine folk including his wife Lynn and their two darling girls. Lynn is not only a big part of Hobo Wine Co., but has her own illustrious wine label as well—my kind of woman.
Fun fact: their school-aged girls pull their own weight in the warehouse winery, eagerly jumping into the vats to assist in the daily press downs- hands down my most favorite part of the day with the Likitprakongs.
Kenny is churning out some of the best juice in the country right now. He makes food friendly wine (fruit-driven, high acid wine) that speaks the language of its land at a price point that he says he feels comfortable personally buying wine at. He’s on the verge of what is a new-ish trend in the US, great somm-darling wine at a fair price. The Old World has of course been hip to this notion for centuries. Kenny did his due time apprenticing in France, learning the lay of that land before getting back to his own California roots to start up his own vision.
Sharp, quick-witted, and warm—Kenny’s the kind of guy you want to follow on adventures and then kick back with over a cold beer. He’s got that enviable combo of hearty work ethic and laid-back ease, he is a skater dude at heart, so maybe that explains it. His environs don’t hurt either, it’s easy to feel both inspired and relaxed in Santa Rosa. In his daily life, the guy is a maniac, traversing the Northern California coast from Santa Cruz to Mendocino in his dusty pickup, sourcing and hand-testing grapes from various vineyards. He logs a lot of time on grape-clustered country roads, returning each day to his winery, where the magic that began on the vines continues. Three Cheers and a Cin Cin for Hobo Wine Co., they are really on to something.
Meet the Modern Farmer Fall 2015:
A few favorites from Hobo’s current releases:
Folk Machine Potter Valley Pinot Noir- we happily drank this beauty during an al fresco home-cooked dinner in the Hobo Winery. Maybe it was the company or the romance of the wine churning all around us— no, actually, this is just a really killer bottle. $24.99
Camp Cabernet Sauvignon 2014- a Sonoma-centric, chompy and chewy red. Great at your next BBQ. $18.00
Folk Machine Valdiguie- my go-to dinner party wine, a great label (looks great on the table- I know, I can’t help it, aesthetics are key) and even better blend. The fruit sings and the minerals and dirt dance- for real. $18.99
Folk Machine Parts & Labor- a longtime favorite and another perfect Cali. red blend. I used to buy this wine for a local wine market, it still sells out. Enough said. $14.99
Photo: Amy Dickerson for Modern Farmer