This is based on samples provided by the winery or organization acting on their behalf.



N.V. Austin Hope Troublemaker Blend 7

2012 Liberty School Pinot Noir

2010 Treana Red



Official HFW logo




I’ve been a fan of the “Rhone Ranger” wines being produced by the winery for a few years.  When I was given the opportunity to sample a few of their “family” of wines, it took about a half second to say, SURE!


The Hope Family Wines line-up includes 5 labels, Liberty School, Austin Hope, Treana, Candor and Troublemaker.



About the company:

The Hope family arrived in Paso Robles in 1978 in search of land and new opportunity.  As they’ve planted vineyards, grown grapes and made wine over the past 30 years, Paso Robles has become a viticulture region of significance, capable of producing world-class wines.  As one of the pioneering families of this distinctive wine community, the Hope family is dedicated to sustainable farming and making wines that are delicious, accessible and memorable.  Still family-owned and operated, Hope Family Wines now makes five individual brands: Liberty School, Treana, Candor, Troublemaker and Austin Hope.


Much more information on the winery, the brands and the wines is available by clicking here.


The winery has a fantastic video online.  This “Office” parody involves their Troublemaker wine.  I highly recommend checking it out by clicking here.



Treana Pic


Who is Austin Hope?

Austin Hope arrived in Paso Robles in 1978, when his family moved to the small farming town in search of new opportunity.  His parents bought land and planted both vineyards and apple orchards.  He was just eight years old when the grapes came on line in the 1980s and began learning in the vineyards alongside his father, Chuck Hope.


In 1995 he graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in fruit science.  Beginning in the 1980s, the Hope family sold Cabernet Sauvignon grapes to Caymus for its Liberty School label, and Austin followed his father’s advice to seek out an opportunity to work with Caymus founder Chuck Wagner.


Austin worked with Wagner in Napa, both inside the winery and the administrative offices, learning the nuts and bolts of the wine business from one of California’s most respected producers.  “That was probably my a-ha moment,” says Austin.  “I realized that I not only wanted to grow grapes, but to manage our own label to bring our fruit directly to the market,” he says.


The Hope family began producing Liberty School wines and founded Treana in 1996.  After beginning as the assistant winemaker, Austin became winemaker for the Hope portfolio in 1998.   Hope Family Wines now makes Treana, Liberty School, Candor, Troubelmaker and Austin Hope wines.  In 2009, Austin Hope was named “Winemaker of the Year” at the California Mid-State Fair.


When he’s not in the lab tasting or on the road promoting his wines, Austin enjoys duck hunting with Spartacus, his Labrador retriever, and staying ahead of the curve on the indie music scene by attending as many rock-n-roll concerts as possible.  He’s also a dedicated dad who enjoys spending time with his two young daughters.




Here is the line up for this tasting:

Hope Family Wines line up

Hope Family Wines line up




N.V. Austin Hope Troublemaker Blend 7 – SRP $20

“Wine is best made when a winemaker has choices.  This philosophy is evident in the Troublemaker, a blend crafted from multiple varietals and vintages.  The majority of wine comes from 2012 vintage, with a remaining portion coming from 2011 and 2010.  The younger wine brings forth a youthful vibrancy and freshness while the base vintage (2012) adds complexity and structure that completes the wine.”


This wine is a blend of 54% Syrah, 22% Grenache, 13% Mourvedre and 11% Zinfandel.  All the grapes for this wine come from Paso Robles, San Benito County and Santa Ynez in California’s Central Coast region.  There were 34,872 cases produced.


The wine has 14.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby red color.  The intriguing nose has blackberries, baking spices, white pepper, cherries, crushed stone minerals, cocoa powder, earthy underbrush, blueberries and candied violets.  This has medium to full body with soft to moderate tannins and decent acidity.  Spicy berries and white pepper coat the palate, slowly allowing some cherries, minerals and dark chocolate to slip through.  The finish has good length with some earthiness and a candied floral note coming into focus.  This is an easy drinking wine that would be a hit at a friendly gathering.  (88 pts)

NV Austin Hope Troublemaker Blend 7

NV Austin Hope Troublemaker Blend 7




2012 Liberty School Pinot Noir – SRP $20

The grapes for this wine come from three different parts of California’s Central Coast.  The primary region is the Arroyo Seco section of Monterey.  This provides the wine with acidity and length.  Grapes also come from the cooler parts of Paso Robles, just east of the Santa Lucia Range.  These grapes enhance the bright berry flavors in the finished wine.  The last grape source area is one of the oldest growing areas in California, Paicines in San Benito County.  This area, east of Monterey is not as heavily influenced by the maritime breezes.  These grapes help balance the final blend and make the wine complete.


There were 39,895 cases of this wine produced.  This wine has 13.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby red color.  The inviting nose has black cherries, warm baking spice, blackberries, tobacco, white pepper, dark chocolate and dried violets.  This has medium body with moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate black cherries and baking spice jump out first with white pepper and a floral note coming in later.  The finish has good length with dark chocolate entering the picture.  This is very tasty but doesn’t taste like a typical Pinot Noir.  (89 pts)

2012 Liberty School Pinot Noir

2012 Liberty School Pinot Noir




2010 Treana Red – SRP $45

This wine is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Syrah.  All the grapes are from Paso Robles.


After harvest, vineyard lots were fermented individually in stainless steel tanks for 14 to 20 days.  Extended macerations and carefully managed pump-overs enhanced the extraction of color and tannin.  The varietals were aged separately in French oak barrels, 70% of which are new, for six months.  The initial blend was assembled in summer of 2011 and aged an additional twelve months in barrel.  The wine was racked only twice during its cellar life, with the final racking occurring just prior to bottling.


The total production of this wine was 5,330 cases.  The wine has 15.0% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark ruby color.  The enticing nose has cherries, cassis, cola, stony minerals, smoke, Asian spices, wildflowers and a touch of mint.  This has a full body with moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the cherries, minerals and cola jump out first with smoke and spice coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with a nice floral note and a hint of mint seeping into the picture.  The back end and finish are very powerful indicating a bit of cellar time will be greatly rewarded.  (91 pts)

2010 Treana Red

2010 Treana Red




Closing Thoughts

These wines provided a very nice snapshot of the range of wines Hope Family Wines produces.  All three of these wines were full of lush fruit flavor with ripe, velvety tannins.  These wines will never be mistaken as coming from an “old world” European winery which is a good thing since they are 100% Californian.




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Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.



Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.



All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.