The perfect toast to summer! While focused on producing high quality Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc since the early 1980’s, Honig Winery is a leading sustainably produced wine in California with a commitment to protecting the environment. Get to know Steven Honig and the story of one of the early San Francisco families making their mark in winemaking and continuing the legacy for generations to come.
HOW DID YOUR FAMILY GET INTO WINEMAKING?
In 1964 my grandfather bought 70 acres of land with the intention of it being a gathering place for family and eventually wanted to retire there and make wine. At the time, the property was used to grow orchards of apricots and walnuts (couldn’t play hide and seek because all the cracking and crunching would give you away) and 2 acres of vines.
We converted the property wholly to vines, and in the late 60s and 70s we were selling our grapes to local wineries. Wineries like Caymus were celebrated for their wines using our grapes. In 1974, Caymus made an award winning single-vineyard designate Sauvignon Blanc from our property under the name HNW Ranch which were the last names of my father, my two uncles and aunts. This moment planted a seed that if other people could make acclaimed wines with our grapes then one day so could we.
My grandfather died in 1977 and was not able to attain his dream of retiring and living on the property and making wine so we make wine in his honor.
WHY SAUVIGNON BLANC?
We focused on Sauvignon Blanc because it was an unknown varietal so it allowed us to establish our name outside of the competition like Chardonnay and Cabernet varietals.
My uncles called professors at Davis and they touted Sauvignon Blanc as a good fit for the Rutherford area. Also at that time Robert Mondavi was pushing local growers to plant, bottle, and promote Sauvignon Blanc to assist in awareness and in promoting his Fume Blanc program.
In 1980, we produced our first vintage of 200 cases of Sauvignon Blanc and won the Orange County Fair! This win put us on the wine industry landscape. Our grandfather always told us to focus – and do it right – so we specialize in Sauvignon Blancs and Cabernet Sauvignons. We added Cabernet to the mix in 1989. We have found that our Rutherford vineyard provides an incredible base of fruit for our Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon programs so that is what we concentrate on.
DESCRIBE YOUR WINERY:
Honig is a sustainably farmed, solar-powered vineyard & winery located in the center of Rutherford on a beautiful property along the Napa River. We specialize in Sauvignon Blancs and Cabernet Sauvignons. Honig means “Honey” in German and we use Bees as an integral part of our sustainability.
WHAT ARE YOUR SUSTAINABILITY PRACTICES?
We practice sustainable agriculture on our property and our logo is a representation of that. “H” with “Bee” has a dual meaning: Heritage and Purity of the land. Bees help pollinate nitrogen rich, fragrant plants on the outskirts of the vineyard which entices insects away from the vines and then we have bat houses and bird houses that get populated and then the bats and blue birds eat-up the insects so we do not have to use any herbicides or pesticides. We are Certified California Sustainable Farming and are Napa Green Certified Land and Winery.
Our sustainability in the vineyard is designed to increase organic matter in the soil causing greater quality wines without using herbicides and pesticides harmful to the land. In the winery we have adopted resource management techniques that preserve intense aromas and flavor profiles. Sustainability is also seen in our business practices by our community and employee support.
Additionally, the residential property at 850 Rutherford Road is Solar Power 100% solar powered.
In total, we have 216 different things that we do in the fields and in the winery and in our business practices that we consider “Sustainable”. These initiatives will give future generations of our family the opportunity to enjoy what we have enjoyed.
How Do You Approach Winemaking Today?
We have grown from a 2,000 square foot tractor barn to over 40,0000 square feet of offices, winemaking facilities, and the tasting room. We continue to refine our sustainable farming and winemaking techniques under the direction of Kristin Bel Air. We currently produce 50,000 cases of Sauvignon Blanc and 20,000 cases of Cabernet a year.
GIVE US A PAIRING
For a summer sunset I like to think that our Honig Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2018 is perfect. (succulent peach, nectarine and dried mango flavors are intense and vibrant, showcasing plenty of style, with a note of honeysuckle lingering effortlessly. Received 91 Points Wine Spectator, “8 Gems of the Napa Valley 90+Points”)
This is a refreshing stand-up wine which perks up your palate and pairs wonderfully with chicken, seafood, anything spicy, sweet or garlicky!
IS THE WINERY AVAILABLE FOR TOURS?
Yes 10am to 4:30pm daily by appointment only https://www.honigwine.com/Experience
Tasting and Tours Available:
Classic Tastings, Eco-Tours, Reserve Cabernet Tastings, and Events