Sand-Reckoner winemaker, Rob Hammelman, began his wine journey in Arizona in 2000 while taking a summer from teaching Humanities and Sciences to work in the vineyard of one of Arizona’s wine pioneers, Callaghan Vineyards. It didn’t take long to recognize that while drinking Arizona wine, the aromas and textures had a magical way of transporting him right back to the high desert vineyard where they were grown. This early experience of terroir ignited a passion and so the dream began to grow vines and make wine in Arizona.
After worldly travels and winemaking experience, Rob is proud to have made it full circle back to Arizona, and he, alongside his wife Sarah, are set to continue the journey in producing world-class wine! Sarah’s wine journey began in college when wine dates with friends became a serious exploration into the science, art, and soul of wine. The mystery she found in a glass of wine was intoxicating, and the notion of terroir fascinated her. She was hooked on wine, and never looked back. Rob and Sarah Hammelman’s passion for wine were only intensified when fate eventually brought them together to wed.
In 2010, Rob and Sarah Hammelman purchased their 12 acre farm situated between the Chiricahua and Dragoon Mountains in Southeastern Arizona outside of Willcox, and so Sand-Reckoner was born. The small vineyard they purchased was planted in 1997. At 4300 feet in elevation, their high desert site exhibits a continental climate yielding warm summers with a large diurnal temperature swing of 30˚ to 50˚F, and cold winters. Sand-Reckoner’s vineyard soil is composed of Sonoita Sandy Loam, a well-drained, rocky soil. The subsoil is extraordinary with limestone rock 4 feet below the surface, renowned throughout the world for grape development. Currently, they grow Malvasia Bianca, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Sagrantino, Montepulciano, Syrah, Petit Verdot, and Zinfandel. In fact, their 2013 Malvasia Bianca was recently placed in The San Francisco Chronicle’s Top 100 Wines for the second year in a row. The varietal was even described to be “as majestic as the best Rhone white wines.”
Sand-Reckoner essentially means “sand calculator.” The Hammelmans wanted to keep the naming of their wines simple and really let the wines speak for themselves, which is why they chose to give them numbers for names. Numbered wines will always be estate wines but as they continue to work with other vineyards, those will be given letters for labels, known as their “variable series.” To read more about the award-winning Sand-Reckoner wines offered, as well as the Hammelmans’ story, visit their website by clicking here. If you’re a fan, you can join the Sand-Reckoner Wine Club online as well, for bi-annual shipments of the vineyard’s latest releases. You’ll get amazing wine and be the first to know about their special tastings and events. Cheers!