hawk haven vineyard & winery
600 S. Railroad Avenue | Rio Grande, NJ
The Hawk Haven story begins back in 1940 when Johan Felix Wuerker traveled from Germany to Cape May, New Jersey and purchased the land that would one day become a vineyard and winery. Three generations later the farmland was still in the family and it became Todd Wuerker’s turn to choose something to plant. The youngest of three sons, Todd and his older brother Ken planted the first grapevines, Cabernet Sauvignon, in 1997 before he was even of the legal drinking age. He knew nothing of wine but his roots in farming and his dedication to learning more about winemaking resulted in a very knowledgeable individual who not only produces award-winning wines but also consults for other vineyards.
Meanwhile, Kenna Sitarski was a single independent lady working in sales with a payroll and human resource outsourcing company. One of three daughters, she grew up in Voorhees, NJ and graduated from Rutgers with a BA in English. She met Todd in December of 2004 when his banker referred Todd to Kenna for his construction and development company. The banker had also bet Todd that he couldn’t get Kenna to go on a date with him. Feeling overconfident in his skills, he was sure he would woo her right away. Kenna, however, would not be charmed quite so easily. Todd realized he had met his match and would not stop until he had won her heart. Kenna eventually gave in and they were married March 16th, 2008. Four years later on February 9th, Kenna gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Elin Irene, who was followed by Semma Loren (also beautiful) on June 25, 2013.
Together they are the perfect team for running a successful vineyard and winery, with Todd in charge of the vineyard, wine making and property maintenance and Kenna handling the business operations including marketing, finances, event planning, and merchandising. They began their work to open the winery in August of 2006 and established Hawk Haven Vineyard LLC by May 2008, opening the tasting room just one year later. Their first vintage was in 2007 and consisted of the American Kestrel White (an unoaked Chardonnay), Red Table Wine, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Today they have fourteen acres of vines with sixteen different varietals. All of the grapes are harvested, pressed, fermented, aged, blended, and bottled on site. The Hawk Haven wine label was created by a team of artists and is designed not only to represent the winery’s namesake but also the yin and yang of Todd and Kenna’s relationship.
In the Fall of 2018, Hawk Haven joined The Winemaker’s Co-Op of New Jersey, the first winery to be invited since its inception. The organization was created to promote the fine wine movement in the Garden State. The goal is to highlight and encourage premium New Jersey wine production with exclusive events, press outreach, and industry investment.