America’s Cup Hall of Famer sails into San Francisco

America’s Cup Hall of famer, Sir James Hardy shows off a bottle of his family’s namesake wine: Hardy’s Winemakers Rare Release Australian Shiraz

Sir James Hardy and his wife Lady Joan Hardy arrived in town a few weeks ago to take in the 34th America’s Cup festivities while also acting as Brand Ambassadors for their world-class Hardy’s wines. Haute Living had the pleasure of sitting down with them at an intimate dinner.

Sir James Hardy and Lady Joan Hardy

The conversation and dining took place at the elegant Quince restaurant in San Francisco’s Financial District where guests were treated to a magnificent six-course dinner that was seamlessly paired with wines directly from the Hardy’s Vineyards, including the Hardy Family’s famous namesake wine, the rare Release Australian Shiraz.

Also in attendance was Sir James’ charming great-niece Kate J. Hardy, who recently moved to the Bay Area to pursue her combined passion of law and the wine industry. Her father, William Hardy, also a winemaker recently launched a new label, William Hardy Chardonnay 2012. Guests at the table, including Kate, tasted the newest blend for the first time.

Kate Hardy with her father's namesake William Hardy Wine
Kate Hardy with her father’s namesake William Hardy Wine

The pleasurable energy at the table led to the conversation fluctuating between Sir Hardy’s deep family roots in the Australian and international wine industry, which was established in 1853 and his immense accomplishments in sailing.

Born into the winemaking business, it was only natural for Hardy to take on the role of becoming a top-notch producer of fine wines. In addition to sharing his family’s passion for wine, Hardy also followed in the Hardy family’s history and love of sailing.

The Hardy family’s passion for sailing began in 1925 when Tom Mayfrield Hardy (Sir James’ father) was awarded Australia’s first Master Yachtsman’s Certificate. Sailing being such a predominate aspect within the family it is no wonder that Sir James followed in the footsteps of his father and went on to represent Australia in two Olympic games (1964 & 1968) and skippered three America’s Cup challenges.

In 1981, due to his extraordinary sailing abilities, Hardy had the pleasure of being invested a Knight Bachelor by her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II. This led to him becoming Australia’s most celebrated yachtsmen and the prestigious honor of being inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame in 1994. In 2000, Sir James acted as a Deputy Chairman for the Australian Challenge for the America’s Cup; once again leaving a lasting legacy for his homeland.
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When asked what the secret to being such an outstanding sailor is, Sir James humbly replied, “preparation and balance is key, which is the same for winemaking”. He firmly believes that laying a solid and quality foundation in order to formulate a boat to travel fifty miles per hour must have the same sort of perfection and attention given to cultivating the vines in order to produce the best possible harvest.

After describing the importance of quality in winemaking, Sir James let out a quite chuckle and reiterated the old saying, “the farmer’s footsteps are the best fertilizer”. Judging by the exceptional quality and substantial history of the Hardy’s Wines dynasty, this clearly proves to be quite an accurate statement.

The Sir James and Lady Joan Hardy currently reside in Sydney and travel the globe as Brand Ambassadors sharing their devotion for their family’s wines.

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