Red Cat Wine is made by Hazlitt Vineyards. The wine was originally known as HHJ Wine, also known as Red Catawba. It was named for the native grapes from which it was made, eventually earning the cherished nickname or Red Cat. The history of wine contains a fascinating tale of seduction and youthful indiscretion. The wine actually existed before Hazlitt Winery was founded. In the early 1980’s, Jerry Hazlitt was creating wine for his family and friends at his home in New York. Jerry made the first batch of Red Catawba in a wooden barrel on his driveway, where local grapes were traditionally raised to make wine for personal consumption.
As the story goes, Jerry’s sons were adamant about hosting female guests and took it upon themselves to “borrow” some of their father’s wine for a waterfront party that actually included a homemade hot tub. The boys found that their father’s “grape juice” quickly swept away consumer inhibitions, resulting in slightly more scanty clothing items for hot tubers. Redcat has built a reputation over the years as a wine popular with college students. T-shirts and other memorabilia with the Redcat name are popular. The wine’s cult following is reinforced by its mascot, a six-foot red cat who often leads guests to the winery in redcat chants.
Thousands of visitors meet the mascot every year and take part in the Redcat singing. The original tale of the antics of Hazlitt’s sons generates many laughs and often leads to other tales of similar indiscretions being told by fans of the wine. A winery that began as a house wine-making operation where grapes were once pounded in a wooden barrel in the driveway has grown into one of New York’s finest. Local distribution of Hazlitt wine has expanded to a worldwide market. With more than 20 varietals of wine sold, Redcat Wine can be found to meet the tastes of even the most discerning palette. It’s certainly still a popular spot among hot tubing fans.
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