Best Wineries
Honig Vineyard and Winery tasting room exterior.

Honig Winery in Rutherford, Napa Valley

By Published On: November 9th, 2023

Interview with Winemaker Ashley Egelhoff.

Honig Vineyard & Winery is a family-owned and operated winery that has been producing wines for over forty years. Its story dates back to the mid-1960s when Louis Honig purchased a 68-acre ranch in Rutherford, Napa Valley.

He planted Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, which he sold to neighboring wineries.
Louis worked towards creating an idyllic gathering place for his children and grandchildren. At the same time, he dreamed of the day he could retire from his San Francisco advertising agency and make wine from his vineyard.

Although Louis passed away before realizing his dream, his legacy continued through his family. In 1980, as a tribute, the 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.

We interview Honig Winemaker Ashley Egelhoff to learn more. 

What type of wine do you specialize in?

Honig Winemaker Ashley Egelhoff: We focus solely on Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, two varietals that are ideally suited to the climate and growing conditions in Rutherford.

Honig Vineyard & Winery Cabernet and Sauvignon Blanc.
Honig Vineyard & Winery Cabernet and Sauvignon Blanc. Photo Courtesy: Devin Cruz.

What makes your wine unique?

Ashley Egelhoff: We made a conscientious decision to produce only two varietals and continue to stay true to that philosophy. We don’t chase winemaking trends, but instead choose to maintain our style and identity.

Honig Vineyard & Winery Garden Wine Tasting. Photo Courtesy: Devin Cruz.

Ashley Egelhoff: Terrace Tasting: Our most visited is the Terrace tasting which is a more casual experience.  This is a great introductory tasting for guests who may not be familiar with our family story, sustainable practices, and wines.  

When booking we let guests know that although this is our most booked experience, it is still intimate as we only have 9 tables on the terrace, which is centered on the valley floor in the heart of the Napa Valley, with views of vineyards, the Mayacamas Mountains and the Vaca Range.

Honig Vineyard & Winery Terrace Tasting. Photo Courtesy: Devin Cruz.

Reserve: Our Reserve Room AVA Experience is our most popular with wine connoisseurs and collectors, focusing on single vineyard cabernets from specific AVAs of Napa Valley and thoughtfully paired with a selection of cheese and charcuterie. 

This is a more in depth, intimate, semi-private experience, hosted in our Reserve Room with view of the Mayacamas mountains and our Estate Vineyards.  Guests who book the AVA tasting are mostly collectors who are interested in the in-depth information about each vineyard site that the fruit is sourced from. 

Honig Vineyard and Mountain View.
Honig Vineyard & Winery. Photo Courtesy: Devin Cruz.

Eco Tour and Tasting: Our Eco-Tour and Tasting is very popular with guests who are ecologically aware. On this guided cart tour through our sustainably farmed Rutherford vineyard, we explain the ins and outs of sustainable farming with examples of our vineyard practices. Guests then return to the Terrace, where they enjoy a full tasting of our current release wines.

Honig Vineyard & Winery Eco Tour Cart. Photo Courtesy: Devin Cruz.

Tell us about your tasting room.

Ashley Egelhoff: Our tasting room is an extension of our home. We want guests to feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible when they visit. We have comfy couches, a library room, and employee portraits on the wall inside, and table seating on our terrace with a dedicated host to guide them through our wines. 

We also have a beautiful Reserve Room overlooking the vineyard and the Mayacamas mountain range where we host tastings of our exclusive single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

Honig Vineyard & Winery Reserve wine tasting. Photo Courtesy: Devin Cruz.

What is your winemaking approach?

Ashley Egelhoff: Our approach to winemaking is very simple: To make wines with a sense of place that represent the vineyard(s) the fruit comes from. Elegant, complex, and well-structured, with restrained force that are approachable young, but have the potential to age beautifully.

Honig Vineyard & Winery Winemaker Ashley Egelhoff.
Honig Vineyard & Winery Winemaker Ashley Egelhoff. Photo Courtesy: Devin Cruz.

Talk about your sustainability efforts.

Ashley Egelhoff: Sustainability is very important to us. We began using sustainable growing practices in the 1990’s. Our winery is run on solar power.

Honig Vineyard & Winery solar panels. Photo Courtesy: Devin Cruz.

We also use sheep to eliminate weeds in the vineyard, house birds and hawks for pest control and manage water usage closely, among other things. It’s not hard to do small things that make a big difference in protecting our environment and reducing your impact.

Honig Vineyard & Winery sheep help eliminate weeds. Photo Courtesy: Devin Cruz.

What do you love about Harvest Season?

Ashley Egelhoff: In the wine business, every season is exciting, from bud-break in May, to the wooly weeders arrival in the spring, to the veraison of the Cabernet Sauvignon in August. Harvest is truly a magical time as it is the culmination of a sometimes-tumultuous growing season when we can actually see the “fruits of our labor” and envision the gorgeous wines that fruit will produce.

Honig Vineyard & Winery during harvest season. Photo Courtesy: Devin Cruz.

Do you have any harvest traditions?

Ashley Egelhoff: We always have a “blessing of the grapes” on the first day of harvest, to bring together the whole winery team and kick of the harvest season. But the favorite harvest tradition is our forklift parade on the last day of harvest. The entire production team climb onto our forklifts and winery carts and circle the winery honking their horns in celebration. It’s a hit with our employees, guests and on social media.

Honig Vineyard & Winery blessing of the grapes. Photo Courtesy: Devin Cruz.

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