Geologist Brings Spotlight to New Hampshire's Wine Country

Ken Hardcastle PhD, class of '79, is a structural geologist as well as an award winning wine maker. He and his two partners started Hermit Woods Winery years ago in the master bedroom of his partner's home. Their goal was to make the finest wines using using a wide variety of locally grown and organic fruit. They found that by combining old-school wine making techniques with some new approaches in wine making and blending, they could produce non-traditional wines that could satisfy even the most sophisticated palates. Many of their wines are crafted from blends of blueberries, blackberries, currants, and other fruits that are often found growing wild across the northeast.

In January 2014 Hermit Woods moved to its new location in Meredith, NH, in which they operate their boutique winery and wine tasting room. This past July, Hermit Woods Winery was invited by Food and Wine Magazine, to share its Petite Blue Reserve on the Today Show. Much to their delight, both Kathie Lee and Hoda liked their wine.

Ken's foray into wine making started in early 1990s with beer making.  Next came mead (using honey) which then led to wine making and experimenting with fruits. In his backyard he grows apples, berries, rosehips, tends old-vine grapes, and raises bees. As a lover of nature, Ken attended Highland Hall for 6 years and then studied geology at Occidental College. He later obtained a Ph.D. in structural geology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and has been working as a geologist at Emery & Garrett Groundwater, Inc.

Regarding his time at Highland Hall Ken says, "What Waldorf education provides early on is the ability for the individual to listen to their inner voice and try to follow that. Highland Hall did a great job of exposing you to a lot of different things that are out there in the world." Ken is happily married to his wife Maya and has two grown children who have graduated college and are off in the world.

To learn more about Hermit Woods Winery visit