Meet the Modern Farmer: Kenny Likitprakong - Modern Farmer

Meet the Modern Farmer: Kenny Likitprakong

This former surf bum grew up romping through his uncle's vineyard, and now has a wine label to call his own.

Amy Dickerson

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Kenny Likitprakong’s critically acclaimed Cabernets, Grenaches, and Zinfandels come by their freewheeling moniker honestly. A former surf bum, Likitprakong spent his twenties “drinking cheap Bordeaux and sleeping on beaches.” But that’s not the only reason he named his company Hobo. The winemaker doesn’t own a single acre, instead sourcing grapes from 40 different vineyards along the Northern California coast, from Santa Cruz to Mendocino.

Which is not to suggest that Likitprakong, 40, is afraid to get his hands dirty. He plants and tends thousands of vines on 18 leased acres in Santa Cruz and Sonoma counties, and keeps a sharp eye on quality control everywhere else. “I see 15 to 20 vineyards a week during harvest. It’s important that the agricultural views of the people tending the vines line up with mine,” says the California native, who grew up romping through his uncle’s Sonoma vineyard. “If you have great grapes, you can still screw it up. But if you don’t have great grapes, you’re never going to turn them into gold.”

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