Wednesday, July 11, 2012

First Stop in Napa -- Honig Winery

Honig Winery

Our first scheduled stop during our Napa Valley visit was recommended to us by our friend Mike Griffin of Bertapelle Cellars in Healdsburg, California. Honig Winery began in 1964, when Louis Honig purchased and planted the 68-acre ranch in Rutherford, California with Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvingon Blanc grapes. While Chardonnay grapes were, and to continue to be, California's most successful white wine grape, Louis took a chance with the Sauv. Blanc and was rewarded with a gold medal at the Orange County Fair in 1981. A few years later, at the ripe age of 22, Louis' grandson Michael took over the management of the winery and continues to do so to this day.

Trying not to be over eager, we arrived to Honig precisely at - 10 a.m. (but technically we were still on Central time, so it felt like noon to us). We were greeted by Mr. Irresistible, who was our wine tour guide and tasting sommelier (which he is actually testing for soon). And were quickly greeted by Michael Honig himself.

The atmosphere was obviously very upbeat, positive and fun. We had our first pour - the signature Sauvingon Blanc, while we looked through postcards the winery sends out to their mailing list for various holidays and announcements. Again, as you can see a very charming group!
 2011 Sauvignon Blanc Tasting Notes

We were then led on a tour of the vineyards. In addition to the breathtaking vines and rolling hills, the olive trees that were planted on the main path between the vineyards were a really unique feature. Also built along the edge of the vineyards were wooden bluebird and owl boxes and bat houses, to improve the local wildlife habitats while decreasing the insect and rodent populations organically.

Another impressive feature we saw during the tour, was what they call the "electricity farm" - their ground mounted solar electricity panels which power the entire winery and costs less than $1.50 per month  - can't beat that! Additionally, of course there are extreme environmental benefits, "over the next 30 years, we will prevent the emission of over 7.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide - the equivalent of planting more than 34 acres of carbon-dioxide absorbing trees"(from their website).

Following our tour, we were led to their outside patio area, perfect for enjoying a glass of wine surrounded by the sites and sounds of the vineyards. Not to mention we enjoyed the change in climate, coming from Texas's 100 degree days to the beautiful Napa mornings hovering in the low 70's. On the porch we enjoyed the Cabernet Sauvignon tastings, and here noticed the Honig logo more closely which uses a bee to cross the "H"; come to find out Honig in German means honey. 

We finished our visit with a taste of their dessert wine, the Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc. Being a family owned and operated winery most of the wines produced are only available for sale through their wine club, at the winery itself, or in select restaurants. We are happy to say The Empty Glass will carry the 2011 Honig Sauvignon Blanc and the 2009 Honig Cabernet. We'll see you in September to fill your glass up!

Stay tuned for more blogs to share with you our amazing trip through Napa and Sonoma!!

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