The High Hook Name
When we founded Fish Hook Vineyards we had three basic goals. First, we wanted to make really good wine that shows the true fruit character of the grapes and the subtle mineral and other earthy qualities of the vineyard. Second, we thought it would be a good idea to make just a little bit of money to support our bad habits (fishing) and have some fun doing it. And third, we wanted to do some good with some of the profits and tie it all in with our passion for fishing and the sea. Hence, Fish Hook Vineyards, High Hook Wines, the Striper on the label and our involvement with several environmental and charitable organizations.
We launched Fish Hook Vineyards in the spring of 2008. At that time both our dba and our brand name were Fish Hook Vineyards. Shortly thereafter we found out that our trademark was being challenged. Constellation Brands, the largest entity in the wine business, felt that it infringed on a trademark of theirs for a line of wines from South Africa that they own and were about to launch in the US. We felt that we had a pretty good chance of prevailing but really didn’t have the resources to get into a legal battle with a company that large. So we changed our brand name to High Hook.
The term “High Hook”, as near as we can tell, originated on Cuttyhunk Island. In 1864 a group of wealthy Manhattan business tycoons, unhappy with a flap over the rules and regulations in their Striped Bass fishing club in Sakonnet, RI, went looking for a suitable place to establish their own club. They found Cuttyhunk, wound up purchasing most of it, and formed the Cuttyhunk Fishing Association. Eventually, there would be a total of fifty members, among them some of the most powerful men in America. The member who caught the biggest Striper was referred to as the “High Hook”, and was given a diamond-studded pin in the shape of a fish hook. The term is still fairly widely used and, depending on what state you’re in, refers to the person who catches either the biggest fish or the most fish. It’s also used more generally as an indicator of excellence.