About Hollow Wines
Before I embarked on this journey as a winemaker, I was an entrepreneur in a high stress career. From the outside, it looked like I was living the life. I was quite successful in my industry and people saw me as a happy guy. I was constantly on the run, wearing my signature bandana and running around in my cowboy boots, smiling and laughing and drinking bottles of wine. After my daughter was born, my wife tried to help me slow down, but I didn’t listen until finally, my body just gave up.
After seven hours in the ER on my 33rd birthday, away from my beautiful family, I left without any definitive answers. All I knew was my health was in bad shape, and I needed to make a life change immediately. I didn't want this to be the legacy I left for my daughter. While trying to get healthy, I stumbled upon a new path, my friends at Alma Sol introduced me to winemaking. I decided to volunteer and work a harvest and I was surprised to discover a new passion.
I was lucky enough to work for Matt at Side Project Wines in Western Australia - where my wife was born and raised. Matt could see I was still in rough shape and took a chance on me. After just one day of dodging giant huntsman spiders and shoveling tons of grapes, I discovered my true north. We were only supposed to be visiting for a month, but I extended our trip, and I worked the entire harvest. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.
Matt introduced me to a world of natural wines, fantastic varietals using minimal to zero additions. I was blown away by the wine and I realized we needed more natural wine in America. As soon as our feet hit the ground back home, I got licensed, but I still needed grapes that were organic and sustainable. The fates were with me and I met Ron Siletto.
Ron was, by definition, an OG California wine god. Born in Italy and raised in New York, Ron's hard work led to a position as the VP of Sales for Almaden Wines (one of America's largest wine producers). Amid a pandemic, Ron and I immediately hit it off, talking on the phone every other day about terroir and organic wines and developing a plan to introduce the world to our unique wines. We shared a vision, giving voice to the unspoken varietals.
Ron was thrilled when he saw his name on our 2018 Silleto Cab label, made from his beautifully farmed grapes. Grapes farmed organically, made using wild fermentation and with minimal intervention. Unfortunately, on July 10th, 2020, Ron passed away. I was devastated, having lost my new best friend, wine mentor, and confidant. His son John, wanting to support Ron's legacy, stepped up as my partner in wine. While he admitted he wasn't sure why his father and I were so passionate about wacky varietals, he understood our commitment to bettering the planet and using 100% organic practices. His new energy inspired me to take on another 10 tons, increasing my total 2020 harvest to 15 varietals, 21 clones, and 27.5 tons of grapes. We then tackled harvest.
From September 2nd, 2020, to November 29th, Hollow Wine crushed it, literally and figuratively, processing over 27.5 tons of grapes. I hand shoveled and sorted every single bin in our winery— from bin to destemmer, destemmer to fermenter, and fermenter to press. Was it hard work? Yes. Did I love every second of it? You bet. I wanted to transform Ron's beautiful grapes into bold and exciting wine. He and I believed in true terroir and letting the grapes and earth express themselves, just as I expressed myself through this journey of wine.
I can't wait to share my hard work with you! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these beautiful wines I have curated. They are all minimal intervention, vegan, and made with love.