We had some loosely defined goals when we first made plans to go on a Napa Valley wine tasting tour. We wanted a blend of larger and smaller wineries. We wanted to experience family wineries, and if those vineyards and wineries were using interesting techniques, all the better! Given those goals, Honig Vineyard & Winery was an easy choice.
Why Did We Want to Visit Honig Vineyard & Winery?
Honig is family owned, which is impressive considering that they were among the larger (certainly a mid-ranger) producers we visited. It has also worked hard to be certified sustainable, and it is solar-powered. Instead of using chemical weed killers and fertilizers, Honig uses sheep. Yes, those cute, furry creatures are a vital component of their sustainable practices. Love!
For German speakers out there, you know that Honig means honey. And it won’t surprise you that Honig’s practices have brought on beneficial bees, butterflies, and other helpful insects. Bees have become such an essential part of their story that they have tended beehives by the river, and the winery produces a small, sustainable amount of honey that can be found in their tasting room.
But, obviously, we were there for the wine. We had heard great things about a number of their Cabs, and Andy was intrigued by their Sauvignon Blanc Late Harvest. So, we knew this was going to be a stop on our Napa Valley wine tasting tour.
Our Honig Wine Tasting Menu
Our first surprise was the 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon, Pink. It’s a rosé that somehow is both light and complex. We both felt the strawberry notes were profound, and Andy picked out melon notes on the palate. I thought I smelled the honeysuckle at first pour, but that may have been suggestion (and I’m pretty sure honeysuckle is planted near the outdoor tasting patio). No matter what, the wine was well balanced, and it had that hit of acidity that always grabs my attention. Also, when you buy the “Pink” wine, a percentage goes to a breast cancer charity. It should come as no surprise that we brought a bottle home.
Next, we had the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley. It has gotten a lot of attention and a fair amount of acclaim. James Suckling gave it 92 points; “A very aromatic red, offering baking spices, such as cinnamon, cloves and anisette, as well as notes of ripe blackcurrants, plums and dark chocolate.” This is a pretty big wine for my palate, but I appreciated that the tannins were already relatively soft on this vintage. It’s definitely one that would stand up to steak. We enjoyed it during the tasting, but it is definitely something that you could hold onto for a few years and then love.
From there, we sipped the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Campbell Vineyard, Rutherford. Blackberries, plums, and some spiciness came through immediately for us. Andy got some black tea, and there was toast from the oak. Given the garnet color, I expected this to be a huge wine, but it was more of a medium-bodied wine. Perfectly balanced, it was already a delight to drink. I’m sure we can hold this one for a few more years, but when we brought a bottle home, we admitted that we might need to drink it sooner because we enjoyed it so much!
Finally, Andy dipped into the 2018 Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc. I’m not a dessert wine person (and I don’t like sweet wines), so I left this one mainly to Andy (and I had another pour of the 2015 Cab). He got baked apples and almonds and thought that the description “sweet and luscious” was the perfect description. Andy was quite taken with it and appears not to be alone, as finding this wine out in the wild is actually quite challenging. But if sweeter dessert wines are your thing, you can buy a 375ml bottle directly from the winery.
As an aside, we loved talking to our wine educator and the apprentice. We learned so much about how the area has dealt with the fires and their plans for the future. It made the entire experience richer. Sure, the wines were delicious, which is what a Napa Valley wine tasting tour is about. But learning about how the wines were crafted made us even more appreciative of every tantalizing sip.
Do You Need a Reservation for a Wine Tasting at Honig?
Yes. Even though they have ample (and gorgeous!) indoor and outdoor wine tasting spaces, the experience needs to be properly staffed. In May, they required advanced reservations. We got lucky in that they are a partner with Rancho Caymus Inn, so we were able to get everything set up through the hotel. In season, you may be able to get a same-day reservation. It’s definitely worth a try! Here is the reservations link.
Does Honig Have Outdoor Wine Tastings?
Yes! It’s a beautiful space, and you’ll love tasting terrific wine amid the vineyards. Plus, they go out of their way to welcome you with personal attention and even custom welcome signs. I know it’s a little thing, but it makes the entire experience feel bespoke and much more fun.
How Long Does the Wine Tasting Last?
Each tasting is slightly different. We had two Classic Tastings, and I think we stayed there for about an hour and a half. But we had an early tasting, and we were the only ones on the patio at the time. And we asked a lot of questions. For the Reserve Tasting, you should plan to be there for two hours. The Eco-Tour & Tasting Experience also runs about two hours, but there is so much to see and learn that I would give yourself more of a cushion.
How Much Does a Honig Wine Tasting Cost?
Honig was our least expensive tasting – in general, Napa Valley wine tasting is very expensive. The Classic Tasting on the patio was $40 per person, but because we were staying at Rancho Caymus Inn, we got a two-for-one for around $30 per person. Naturally, the Reserve Tasting is more expensive, as is the Eco-Tour. If you have non-tasters in the group, there is a $10 per non-taster charge.
Are Children Allowed at Honig’s Wine Tastings?
Yes. Honig was one of the only Napa Valley wineries we visited that allowed children for their Classic tasting. However, I believe the more formal Reserve Tastings and the Eco-Tour & Tasting are strictly for those 21 and older.
Where is Honig Vineyard & Winery?
Honig Vineyard & Winery is located at 850 Rutherford Road, Rutherford, CA, 94573. Enjoy!
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