Honig Vineyard & Winery Napa Valley: Beauty, Tradition, Family
In the heart of Napa Valley, California, lies a 68-acre ranch purchased in 1964 by Louis Honig from San Francisco. He worked in Advertising at that time, with hopes to make what is now Honig Vineyard & Winery his home for retirement. Honig planted the acres with Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, then sold his product to neighboring wineries.
Sadly, Honig passed away before he could make his retirement dream a reality. He left the vineyard to his family, who in 1980, produced a few hundred cases of Sauvignon Blanc in Louis’s honor. The wine won a Gold Medal at the Orange County fair and this victory prompted the family to create Honig Vineyard & Winery. Louis Honig’s grandson, Michael, took charge of the business in 1984 and the vineyard began to grow. By 1989, family members Regina Weinstein, Steven Honig and Stephanie Honig joined to build the family business.
The name “Honig” reached wine connoisseurs, including myself, namely because of the Cabernet Sauvignon. A visit to the estate was a “must” on my list for a full experience.
The entrance to the estate is just what I pictured from the sustainably farmed Rutherford Vineyard. Evidence of managing water use, providing habitat for wildlife and restoration practices of the Napa River were scarcely seen during the drive at the entrance to the main home on the property, but that eco-system is alive and flourishing.
What I loved most about Honig is the clever connection of the bee on the label, the sustainable farming acts and the Tasting Experiences. The “VIBee” Lounge, a clever play on words for an environmentally valuable cause is one part of the heart of Honig Winery.
Honig is the German word for “honey” and the sustainable practices used at the vineyard benefit bees, butterflies and insects, a sign of a healthy eco-system. Honey is like wine, in that honey’s flavor is a reflection of the plants where the pollen originated. A limited quantity is sold at the estate, the result of approximately 800 pounds of honey produced annually, and a limited amount extracted is packaged for sale. Hives are located on the estate where bees can get fresh water and forage for pollen along the banks. A healthy hive has as many as 60,000 bees living in it and visitors can “live” in the lounge via scheduled tour and enjoy the wonder of the vineyard.
Solar panels on the property, the use of owl boxes to control rodents in place of spray chemicals, and the use of wind machines to protect crops during the Winter to prevent frost, all contribute to an “excellent rating” in California’s Green Report Card. The Honig wine bottle is 15 percent lighter than traditional wine bottles meaning less energy to create and ship the glass. Let’s face it, better soil makes better grapes for better wine.
An Eco-Tour & Tasting is offered daily at 10:00am, March through October, weather permitting, when guests can learn more about the sustainable practices.
In addition to the Eco-Tour & Tasting, the Library Tasting in the VIBee Lounge is offered daily by appointment, where hosts place emphasis on conditions that shaped prior vintages and share a wealth of information on how Napa Valley Cabernet ages.
We had a picturesque day and it was impossible to remain indoors, therefore we scheduled the Classic Experience, a relaxed opportunity to “kick back” on the Garden Patio, where hosts guide visitors through wines, family history and sustainable practices.
Here the views of the vineyards and mountains rivaled the tasting itself. Note that visitors on the Classic Experience may opt for the Tasting Room and elect an indoor experience.
It is important that I add one very crucial point. Honig is family-owned and operated and that was never more evident than the hospitality they provided my son. He was offered Goldfish crackers and Capri-Sun juice, and more than welcome on the premise. Conversely, Opus One allows no children on the property, and is currently closed for construction but conducting tastings in a tent. While we understand the “no child” policy at some vineyards, we travel as a family so Honig was much more for us.
2017 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Rutherford
We started with the 2017 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Rutherford. To this point I had only tried the Cabernet Sauvignon in past dining occasions. I was pleasantly surprised with my introduction to my favorite type of wine, in that it was crisp and refreshing, as I would say “light.” While I tasted pear, it was not too sweet.
2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Next was a special treat. The James Suckling 92 points 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, full bodied with a nutty aftertaste. It was flavorful and delicious, and I usually prefer a Sauvignon Blanc over Cabernet. Both were lovely.
2014 Honig Bartolucci Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
While not on our Tasting Menu, we were elated to experience the 2014 Honig Bartolucci Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon: the cherry and vanilla made the flavor memorable.
2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Dulce
The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Appellation Series Calistoga is spicy with a hint of cocoa that leads to the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Dulce, a vintage port oozing with aromas of berry jam and chocolate. A delicious sip was just enough for me.
Honig is available for one time or membership at the vineyard where current vintages available throughout the United States are available, as well as wines that can only be acquired at Honig.
Please make reservations for your tour of choice in advance at www.honigwine.com.
If you can not make it to Napa, check out www.honigwine.com to select and order your wines of choice.
Honig Vineyard & Winery
850 Rutherford Road
Rutherford, CA 94573
Angela Ranieri joins us as Contributing Writer with an extensive background in Fashion, Beauty and Digital Media. Her credits include Sales and Marketing for with PRADA USA Corp., followed by a jump in to the world of beauty as an Esthetician followed by Spa Manager at Jurlique, Spa Manager and Client Relationship Manager and Digital Business Development coordinator position at Amore Pacific where celebrity clients were and remain confidential and her column, “Ask Angela,” was featured on the Amore Pacific USA website. She has also been a contributor for Beauty to Shape and Fitness Magazines.
A side job as a Hospital Victim on “As the World Turns,” and a correspondent on the now defunct lifestyle web series “Tangerine Living,” Angela is no stranger to juggling multiple positions and has built quite the resume. A move to The New York Daily News as Training and Employee Relations Manager with a night and weekend gig as make up artist for runway shows, (she studies in Los Angeles with Amy Ward) including Vogue Bambino and multiple commercials, Angela became a Mom, her best and most important credit to date.
Since Motherhood, Angela has been a Brand Ambassador for the skin line Patchology, featured in Saks Fifth Avenue in store and on air with CBS News segment “Patch me Pretty.” She has been a beauty guest for QVC, and the founder of her own social media communications business, helping business owners to share their digital voice. Actively involved with Smart Children with Learning Differences, her most favorite down time hobby is discovering the best in beauty, travel and fashion around the United States.
Angela is a graduate of Syracuse University with a BS in Communications and Writing, where she appeared on the University Union News as an Anchor and on The Beat of Syracuse, Z89 as a DJ. Angela has an MBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from Northeastern University. While at Northeastern, her Market Research on the Electric Car was published for University use.
Working with AlphaLuxe is a unique opportunity, “to share what I am most passionate about. Living your best life. In her spare time, you can find Angela running, practicing yoga, taking her son to one of his sports practices. She resides on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with her husband, son, and chihuahuas.