Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants Decants an Effervescent Fusion of Award-Winning Wine, Delicious Food, and Great Company
The art of bringing together the perfect wine with a luscious meal requires a deep understanding of all the ingredients involved and how they blend as one. For the creative minds behind Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants, there’s another critical ingredient that takes precedence above all others: the power of personal connection.
Launched in 2005, Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants blends modern, casual dining with a level of hospitality that extends well beyond the typical restaurant experience, defining their presence as a welcoming and warm lifestyle brand. The pinnacle of that ambitious platform is an exclusive slate of award-winning wines that can be enjoyed in their restaurants, in their wine club events, and at home.
For Cooper’s Hawk, the essence of the wine country life—creating memories in a relaxed, immersive atmosphere that stimulates the senses—is a culture of affinity and celebration.
“Our overarching purpose is to create community,” revealed Kristen Zagozdon, Vice President of Human Resources for Cooper’s Hawk. “As an organization, whether it’s who we choose to hire, what direction we take the business, or how we approach any actions with our guests and our wine club members, we have four intentionally simple core values: we care about people, we are different, we are committed to being the best, and we have fun and celebrate.”
In addition to operating over 30 restaurants in nine states, Cooper’s Hawk operates a 300,000-member Wine Club, which boasts a 25 percent annual growth rate. Club members are treated to 12 limited edition specialty wines created just for them each year, have the opportunity to travel with fellow enthusiasts to wine lovers’ destinations around the world, and enjoy a range of special events hosted in their local restaurants and tasting rooms.
Care, Community and Celebration
Each Cooper’s Hawk winery is a destination. “If you are in one of our tasting rooms on a weekend night, you’ll see interactions between the guests who have never met before, and they start speaking to each other,” Zagozdon noted. “Our guests and wine club members are in the restaurant often, so they become like an extension of the team and it feels like a family. I think that’s a really cool thing to celebrate.”
That sense of family begins at the team level. One of the winery’s newest team members, chief technology officer Karen Fedyszyn added, “Even going through the interview process I could tell that there was a very different and very appealing culture at Cooper’s Hawk that I wanted to be a part of, and there was a real sense of community.”
Weekly staff gatherings at the Restaurant Support Center include the company founder and CEO Tim McEnery, who celebrates life and work milestones in an atmosphere of camaraderie. Restaurants host community breakfasts for staff, where they plan for the week ahead. “It’s really interesting to see the community the founder has established, not just at the Restaurant Support Center but how it’s rolled out in the restaurant every single day,” Fedyszyn said.
Expansion is on the menu at Cooper’s Hawk, whose locations will increase to 35 by the end of 2018. The company actively clusters locations together to give guests and wine club members a variety of settings in which to enjoy themselves. Despite aggressive growth plans, Zagozdon insists that increasing the number of locations will have a positive effect on company culture.
“As we grow, rather than being concerned about our culture being diluted or fading Into the background, it becomes stronger as we bring more team members into our organization,” she asserted. “They live our values, and their personal values align with the engagement of our wine club members and our guests. Because our values drive these interactions, we have an opportunity to see our culture grow and strengthen as we continue to expand.”
The Cooper’s Hawk Difference
Cooper’s Hawk endeavors to bring the wine country lifestyle beyond their four walls. In addition to wine tours, the company features products for entertaining at home, including gourmet food, wine, and accoutrements that enhance and extend the Cooper’s Hawk experience to daily life.
“We make it possible for you to enjoy wine and food together in different settings,” Fedyszyn continued. “We have extensive online ordering so you can order your entire dinner and come pick it up, and right now we are piloting delivery in many markets.”
Each location features a tasting room and retail artisan market. “The wine club is an extension of those experiences,” said Fedyszyn, noting that members enjoy monthly in-restaurant dinners and special events spotlighting industry superstars.
Culinary luminaries and oenophiles including Jean Charles Boisset, Tyler Florence, Gail Simmons, Anne Burrell, and the team behind Francis Ford Coppola’s signature vineyards, among others, have entertained wine club members. “We give our wine club members access to people that they might not otherwise have a chance to meet and engage with.” Florence recently partnered with Cooper’s Hawk to create a Sauvignon Blanc exclusively for its members.
Passion is also evident in the company’s technology strategy, which Fedyszyn directs. “Everything that we do with technology is all about going back to our core values. Are we having fun? Are we being different? We go through that litmus test and make sure that everything resonates with where we want to be. We cluster in markets, so from a supply chain perspective that really helps us optimize some of the the goods that we use, and the way that we manage our costs. We would never do that if it didn’t make sense to our members and to our guests to work in that capacity,” she said.
Delivering the Best of Wine Country
With over 500 local, regional, and international awards to their credit, the firm’s wines are made from grapes grown and harvested in the U.S., Italy, France, California, Chile, New Zealand, and Australia.
“Rob Warren, our director of winemaking, is involved every step of the way, whether it’s selecting the vineyard where are grapes come from or getting involved in the growing process where the grapes are picked, to the actual bottling,” Fedyszyn stated.
“Rob partners with Matt McMillin who is our vice president of culinary and beverage innovation, and Emily Wines, our master sommelier.” Wines is one of only 129 master sommeliers in the world. The trio curates the operation’s food and wine. “That creates a special synergy of wine and food together with our values,” Fedyszyn said. “You can have a great dish on its own and you can have a great wine on its own but when you put the right dish and the right wine together it changes the whole experience.”
Cooper’s Hawk may be based in Illinois, but the world is taking notice. In addition to being the featured sparkling wine at this year’s Telluride Film Festival, Cooper’s Hawk is the official wine of the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and has been gifted to presenters at the Academy Awards. If you were at the 2018 Emmy Awards, you probably noticed a Cooper’s Hawk varietal in your swag bag. Now that’s a connection we can heartily recommend.
Founded in 2005 by CEO Tim McEnery, Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants is built upon the passionate belief that food and wine hold the power to forge lasting connections.
At Cooper’s Hawk, they understand that great wines begin in the vineyard. They travel the globe looking for the very best grapes and when they are particularly impressed—whether it be in Chile, France, California, or Washington—they work with the wine grower to begin crafting their wine. Their winemaker nurtures each wine according to its individual needs to craft the best wine possible. It’s this philosophy that has led to hundreds of national and international awards for their collection.
Cooper’s Hawk has created a modern, casual dining experience with warm hospitality in an inviting upscale setting. Their culinary team has designed a contemporary American menu infused with flavors from around the world. Each dish is made fresh in their scratch kitchen, incorporating peak-of-season ingredients, and listed with a bin number to guide you to your selection’s perfect wine match.
Their Tasting Rooms embrace the rich experience of Napa, providing guests the opportunity to explore and expand their palates and enrich their wine journey. High end decanters, wine accessories, and gifts, along with our very own gourmet food line, allow guests to live the Cooper’s Hawk lifestyle at home.
Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants