Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania
Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Picpoul, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Tocai Friulano, Verdelho, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Carignane, Grenache, Barbera, Charbono, Valdiquie
Biodynamic, Organic, and Sustainable
The Hobo Wine Company is the brainchild of Kenny Likitprakong. Kenny grew up at the winery, Domain Saint George, where his father Somchai worked as general manager since 1972. He considered several career options, including medicine, film and professional skateboarding before a gig in San Francisco introduced him to wine. UC Davis subsequently beckoned, and Kenny started spending time with the professors and students studying organic farming practices.
Kenny found his first winemaking job in the Santa Cruz mountains in 1999 before starting Hobo Wine Company in 2002. The “Hobo” name refers to Kenny’s winemaking experiences traveling and working place to place. It applies now to the fact that Kenny does not own his own vineyards, but sources fruit from vineyard owners who he has longstanding relationships with around California, some of which he worked with before starting Hobo.
The Hobo winery has been based in Santa Rosa since 2013. You can look at a map and see the spread of his 42 vineyards: 240 miles between his most southerly parcels in Arroyo Seco and his most northerly vineyards in Redwood Valley. His vineyards go as far east as Clarksburg, near Sacramento, over 60 miles from his winery in Santa Rosa. Kenny has cultivated relationships with 27 different farmers across 14 or more AVAs. Nearly all of the vineyards they lease are organically farmed and 88% of the total vineyards that they source from are sustainably, organically, or biodyamically farmed. The winery itself is Certified Organic which will be represented on the labels beginning with the 2021 vintage.
Kenny’s wines are accessibly priced, especially for California. The labels are eye-catching and without capsules, helping to eliminate waste. The winery is committed to sustainable packaging including a high percentage of recycled glass (all domestic) and natural corks. On the back of his labels, it is noted that he is a member of 1% for the Planet, an organization started by the founders of Patagonia to facilitate donations to green organizations. He donates 1% of his gross sales to non-profits.
Kenny’s wines are well thought of in the wine industry community. Eric Asimov of the New York Times has written about five of Kenny’s wines just since 2017. Jon Bonne, a former writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, included Kenny in his landmark book, The New California Wine.
Kenny’s Wine Labels include:
Hobo: Kenny’s first project! Kenny started everything with just two barrels of Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. All vineyards for Hobo are specific to Sonoma County.
Banyan Wines: The Gewurztraminer was the second wine in the collection. It is a father and son project from Somchai and Kenny Likitprakong born out of a mutual passion for wine, their Thai heritage and an idea to combine the two. They produce appellation-specific California white wines that pair well with Asian food. The Banyan philosophy is to use only sustainable and/or organically farmed grapes from vineyards in regions with microclimates ideally suited for the particular variety.
Folk Machine: In 2005, Kenny saw a gap in the market for more affordable Pinot Noir, and Folk Machine was born. A little more fun and experimental, this label has grown to house more obscure vineyards and varieties from around California.
Camp: Created by the Hobo Wine Co. in 2011 to showcase the quality and value of North Coast wine. The “Camp” name is from the idea of Hobo Camp, teaching others the Hobo way. For this label, Kenny works with top growers and vineyard managers in high-quality and responsibly farmed vineyards to produce delicious, approachable, and affordable wines. Like Hobo, the Camp wines employ native yeasts and malolactic bacteria for the primary and secondary fermentations without the use of commercial fermentation aids or additives. The wines are aged in real oak barrels and/or stainless steel tanks vs. alter natives or flavoring agents.
Ghostwriter: Created to tap the potential of the Santa Cruz area AVAs. A more luxury brand, the name “Ghostwriter” refers to ghostwriting the story of the vineyard – helping it tell its story. In early 2008, Brian Wilkerson and Kenny Likitprakong took over the farming on two of old vineyard sites, the Woodruff Family Vineyard planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and The Aptos Creek Vineyard planted to Pinot Noir. They introduced sustainable farming to the vineyards and carried that through with natural winemaking in the cellar, all in an effort to emphasize the sites and their individual terroirs.
Workbook: The line of wine in kegs. It was named “Workbook” to acknowledge the work in progress of kegs generally and as a quest to provide well-made honest wines at by-the-glass at house wine prices. The standard and ongoing offerings are blended non-varietal, vintage-dated, California White and Red table wines. Consistent with the entire line-up, the Workbook wines are sourced from Sustainable, Organic, or Biodynamic vineyards. The wines are made simply without added yeasts, bacteria, or other unnecessary additives. Sulfur levels are kept to a minimum.
The Way Back: A collaboration between Kenny and partnter Lynn and Colorado hospitality friends Tim and Jenn Wanner. The project came to light over several family surf trips. No one has any real skills beyond making and selling wine, but they all wanted to do something together so came The Way Back.
i.e.Wine Company: In many years of partnership with Kenny, partner Lynn Wheeler sold wine with toddlers in tow, cleaned, inventoried, delivered, harvested, and cleaned again. In short, it was just time for Lynn to make her own wine. i.e. Wine Company represents Lynn’s efforts. Her wine, Edith & Ida, is named after their two daughters and is from some of the oldest Chardonnay vineyards in California, dry farmed on a Certified Organic property.