Recently I found myself in Napa California on a weekday with nothing scheduled. Most wineries are now open only by appointment, but since it was a Monday there weren’t the typical wine tasting tourists. My friends and I narrowed the list to a few top picks, and all of them required an appointment. During the peak season, most wineries are fully booked days in advance, but since it was the off-season we started calling!
The first winery that returned our call and had an opening was a Napa Valley classic, Honig Vineyard and Winery. We were only blocks away when the manager said to come on in. Honig is in the heart of Napa on the valley floor. Turn off the main road, travel down a quaint tree-lined lane through the vineyards until you come to the tasting room and winery. We were welcomed in and, as the only appointments that day, had our choice seats. We selected the pleasant patio, under the tree canopy with views into the winery and vineyards beyond.
Honig mainly produces 3 wines, Cabernet Sauvignon, Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, and Sauvignon Blanc. You can find the Sauvignon Blanc almost everywhere, but the others are primarily available thru the winery. The Sauvignon Blanc found in most grocery stores is in large production, which is why you can buy if for $15 or less. The Reserve Sauvignon Blanc at the winery is $30 and you can taste the additional time and care in production.
Next we moved onto the Cabernet Sauvignon. Honig produces a few, most of which are vineyard-designated, which means the grapes in each are from a single vineyard. The “Napa Valley Cabernet” does source grapes from a number of different vineyards. The 2015 Napa Valley Cabernet is delicious; from my first impression to the last drop – pure Napa Valley in a glass. The flavors are bright blackberry, red plum, and raspberry fruit with notes of cranberry, black tea, spice and coriander seed.
Honig produces appellation and vineyard designated Cabernets as well. We tasted a few and The 2012 Campbell Vineyard was by far our favorite!
The 2015 Appellation Series Rutherford was delightful with a long finish and was just luscious all around.
The last wine we tasted while enjoying the sunny patio was what they call “liquid gold”. Enter their late harvest Sauvignon Blanc, and it’s the perfect dessert wine. They pick these grapes as late as December and the extra time on the vine results in a very sweet wine, yet it is not mouth-coating syrup. Due to the fires in the Napa Valley, they didn’t make this wine in 2017; the smoke damaged the grapes still hanging on the vine – the thinner white wine grape skin is easily smoke permeated.
Honig is the family name and also German for Honey, the theme continues with the queen bee as their logo. They even keep beehives on the property – helping the environment plus they get delicious honey!
Honig demonstrates their love of the environment through their sustainability; solar panels that produce more energy than they use, sniffer dogs that help find Vine mealy bugs that can destroy the vines. Besides tasting a great Napa classic, I learned about sustainable vineyards, and all because we called, don’t let the phrase “by appointment only” scare you away!
Lastly we loved the wine glasses and the design so we had to buy 2! The elegant Bee logo on the front of the glass is great, but what I really loved was the little bumble bee on the backside of the glass. This little bee is cute but serves a purpose.
This is so that the staff pour just the right amount for every tasting, it’s a pouring line! Now I want to design all my own glasses with some sort of trick like this, How good is that?
This article was featured in the Laurelhurst & Windermere Living Magazine, February 2019.