In 1964, Louis Honig purchased a 68-acre ranch in Rutherford from the Wagner’s (owners of nearby Caymus Vineyards), in the heart of the Napa Valley. The vineyard was planted with Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, which he sold to neighboring wineries. Louis worked to create a family gathering place at the ranch, for his children and grandchildren, while he dreamed of the day he could retire from his San Francisco advertising agency and make wine from his vineyard.
Louis passed away before he could realize his dream, leaving the estate to his family. In 1981, as a tribute to his legacy, his family produced a few hundred cases of Louis Honig Sauvignon Blanc in the vineyard’s old tractor barn. After the wine won a Gold Medal at the Orange County Fair, the family decided to increase production, and Honig Vineyard & Winery was born.
In 1984, at the age of 22, grandson Michael Honig took over management of the vineyard and winery. In 1989 the family began producing small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon. As the business grew, family members Regina Weinstein, Steven Honig, Stephanie Honig, and Jonathan Honig joined Michael in the winery.
Winemaker Kristin Belair focuses production solely on on two varietals rather than many. They currently make two stylistically different Sauvignon Blancs, a primary Cabernet Sauvignon and several vineyard designate Cabernet Sauvignons. Honig in German means bee – and you will see an image of a honeybee on the label of all of their wines.
Honig has always practiced sustainable farming and currently employs several cutting edge bio dynamic farming techniques – one of which is using sniffer dogs to find harmful bugs among the vines. Golden retrievers have a sense of smell many times more powerful than of a person and they are able to smell the scent given off by particular pests among the actual grape vines. Honig uses solar to power the winery, has a number of owl, bat and bird houses around the vineyards, maintains honey bee hives and uses drought resistant plants for landscaping. In addition their wines are bottled in lighter weight glass saving both themselves and the customer needless costs.
Louis Honig’s vision of bringing his family together to share in the beauty and bounty of Napa Valley, while producing outstanding wines, has become a reality.
Wine Spectrum 93: A crisp, fresh Sauvignon Blanc created in the classic Honig style. Peach, lemon grass, hints of jasmine and pea shoot are balanced by grapefruit and lime. Medium bodied, with a bright, lingering finish. Enjoyable with many foods including curries, roasted fish and a wide variety of cheeses. It is a perfect complement to relaxing on the porch with family and friends. 93% Sauvignon Blanc, 6% Semillon, 1% Muscat.
2013 Honig ‘Reserve’ Sauvignon Blanc, Rutherford – $28/b
Wine Spectrum 93+: Summer fruit aromas and flavors (white peach, melon, and lychee) are highlighted by lemon bar, vanilla, and toasty oak. This is a rich, complex and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc. 88% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Semillon, and 2% Muscat.
Wine Spectrum 93+: Plenty of ripe, wild berry and plum aromas and flavors, framed by vanilla, spice, and toasty oak. Lush mid-palate tannins flow into a lengthy finish accented by bright fruit. Aged for 18 months in 35% new American oak. Drink now through 2024. 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc.
Wine Spectrum 95: A rich Cabernet, combining aromas and flavors of blackberry and cherry, and spices wrapped in vanilla and toasty oak. The texture is silky, rich and layered on the mid-palate, with a beautiful, lasting finish full of cocoa powder and black tea, and dense and structured tannins. While enjoyable upon release, the wine will cellar until 2020 and beyond. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. An employee pick.
2013 Honig ‘Late Harvest’ Sauvignon Blanc, Rutherford – $65/375ml
Wine Spectrum 95: Dessert in a bottle, with the aromas of dried apricot, peach cobbler, figs and honey, spiced with nutmeg and vanilla. Rich, bright and exquisitely balanced – with just the right amounts of sweetness and lively acidity. 100% Sauvignon Blanc. Aged in 100% new French oak for 10 months.