Jason Hazlitt, partner and vineyard manager, is the 7th generation grower at Sawmill Creek and grew up working in the vineyard. Striving to enrich the farm with a brighter future Jason furthered his education within the advertising and marketing fields. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree, he returned to the Finger Lakes to start the next chapter. He opened Hector Wine Company at the age of 24 with veteran Finger Lakes winemaker, Justin Boyette, and made the first vintage in 2009. He now manages Sawmill Creek Vineyards and produces all the marketing materials at Hector Wine Company. This includes management of twenty-five people within the winery and farm, all building and wine label design, event planning, marketing and equipment repair. When not on the farm or winery, Jason spends his time with his wife, Rose and baby boy, Zephyr, and it’s usually on a sailboat.
Partner, Head of Winemaking
Justin Boyette, partner and head of winemaking, has been rooted in the Finger Lakes wine industry for the last twenty years and has been a leading force in it’s evolution as a world renowned wine region. Justin worked his way up by being involved in all aspects of the industry. He worked tasting rooms, events, in cellars and vineyards at places such as Rasta Ranch Vineyards, Bagley’s Poplar Ridge Vineyards, Red Newt Cellars and Atwater Estate Vineyards before partnering up with Jason to open Hector Wine Company in 2009. Justin is the visionary behind the HWC wines that have pushed the boundaries in the Finger Lakes. Utilizing old world techniques, such as native yeast fermentations, unfined and unfiltered reds and being a minimal interventionist in the cellar, have put him on the cutting edge of winemaking in the region. Justin is also a partner at Forge Cellars, a world distributed producer of high end Riesling and Pinot Noir. Outside of the winery, he loves vintage sportscars, sailing, travelling with friends and working in his garden.
Alexandra Bond, partner and associate winemaker, works alongside Jason and Justin. Since joining the winery in 2012, she worked her way from assistant to associate on the winemaking team and has since become a partner in the business. She started her journey with wine at a young age by way of work at restaurants and wine bars in and around New York City. After discovering Finger Lakes wine in 2010, she decided to pursue her passion by moving to the region and getting her hands dirty. She worked at several wineries, in vineyards, tasting rooms and cellars, getting a taste of every aspect of the industry. In early 2012 she found herself with the opportunity to join Hector Wine Company in its budding years. She owes her winemaking education within those years to her mentor, Justin, as well as to Louis Barroul of Forge Cellars and Chateau St. Cosme and other area winemakers such as Phil Arras of Damiani, Shaun Kime of Thirsty Owl and Michael Reidy of Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards. Alexandra is now in charge of the day to day winemaking year round. She loves travelling, sailing, horseback riding and spending time with her husband, James, and their dog, cat and 15 chickens.
Hospitality and Sales
Noelle Johnson started working part time in the tasting room at Hector Wine Company in the summer of 2018 and then full time on the harvest crew later that same year. Having worked in restaurants since the age of 14, service is like second nature to her. While working at farm to table restaurants and honing in on her passion for wine, she also got certified in yoga at Finger Lakes School of Massage. When she’s not at the winery you can guarantee she will be outside, either practicing yoga or dancing and listening to live music with friends.
Hospitality and Sales
Kirsten Emerson joined the team in the spring of 2018 to work in the tasting room and learn more about all facets of the industry. Having studied social sciences and organizational management, Kirsten also has extensive experience in the food and beverage industry, both around Corning where she’s from and in California where she spent several years after college. She grew her deep appreciation for food, wine and the intimate relationship they share while out west and returned home to pursue it close to home. Her future plans for school are wine and marketing focused while maintaining her full time position inside the winery. She spends most of her spare time visiting and learning about the history of fellow wineries, catching sunsets, playing with her dog and being crafty.
Vineyard and Tasting Room
Erin Hazlitt Hanley
Erin Hazlitt Hanley is Jason’s sister and fellow 7th generation on the farm. Having grown up in the wine and grape growing industry, Erin went on to work in restaurants for the last 15 years before returning to the vineyard and winery to pursue her family legacy. She spends the week working at Sawmill Creek Vineyards and the weekends working in the Hector tasting room where her smile is infectious and her love of her family is inherent in all that she does. She is a devoted wife and mother of two and most often spends her free time on the lake or listening to live music.