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.
Clubs & Market
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.
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. 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.
Rhett Seeley joined the team in June of 2022 after completing his bachelor’s degree in Viticulture and Enology from Cornell University. Growing up in Horseheads he discovered winemaking through various home winemaking projects and discovered a passion for the technical side of winemaking with a focus on sustainable winemaking practices and the chemistry of winemaking. He gained experience in winemaking by doing 3 harvests in the Finger Lakes, a harvest in Australia and spent some time working in the vineyards of the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Outside of the winery Rhett loves going to the movies, all forms of auto racing, cooking lavish meals for friends and family, and fermenting any and everything.
Hospitality and Sales
John is a Seneca lake native who has a love and passion for all things “Finger lakes.” From the natural beauty and agriculture, to the FLX community. John started his service industry career in 2018, and joined the HWC family full time in June 2022. You will always catch John with a smile on his face, whether it’s on the press deck, the bottling line, or in the tasting room. When he’s not at HWC, he’s either dog sitting, listening to funky reggae, swimming in Seneca lake, or frolicking with his friends.
Sales & Cellar
Adrianna Aho (Ajay) joined the team in May 2020 as a volunteer for the bottling line and was quickly welcomed as a full-time family member by May 2021. A Hector native and someone who has worked from the vineyard to the tasting room, Ajay has a profound recognition of the time and effort that it takes to grow from vine to vino. While not at Hector Wine, she can be found camping in the National Forest, foraging, cooking and dancing to great music with friends and family. Following her first bottling season, she quickly learned wine was a lifelong obsession in which Hector Wine Co. would be her foundation to learn and excel.