Red Cat Wine is produced by Hazlitt Vineyards. The wine was originally known as HHJ Wine, also known as Red Catawba. It was named after the native grapes from which it was made, and eventually received the appreciated nickname or Red Cat. The wine’s history entails an intriguing story of seduction and youthful indiscretion. The wine was actually in existence before the Hazlitt Winery came into being. In the early 1980s, Jerry Hazlitt created wine in his home in New York for his family and friends to enjoy. Jerry created the first batch of Red Catawba in a wooden barrel in his driveway, where local grapes were stopped in traditional fashion to create wine for personal consumption.
As the story goes, Jerry’s sons were quite found of hosting female guests, and took it upon themselves to “borrow” some of their father’s wine for a waterfront party which actually featured a homemade hot tub. The boys found that their father’s “grape juice” quickly removed the inhibitions of consumers, resulting in some more scantily clothes hot tubers. Redcat has gained a reputation over the years as a wine popular among the college crowd. T-shirts and other memorabilia sporting the Redcat name are popular. The cult following of the wine is increased by its mascot, a six foot red cat who often leads guests to the winery in the Redcat chant.
Thousands of visitors meet the mascot each year and participate in the Redcat chant. The original tale of the antics of Hazlitt’s sons gives many a laugh, and often results in the telling of other tales of similar indiscretions on the part of the wine’s fans. A winery which began as a home wine producing venture in which grapes were once stomped in a wooden barrel in the driveway has grown into one of the finest found in New York. The local distribution of Hazlitt wine has expanded to a world-wide market. With more than 20 varieties of wine now sold, Redcat Wine can be found to suite the tastes of even the most discerning pallets. It certainly still holds a favorite place among the hot tubing crowd.