In an ongoing series, Vintner will take a note from interviews of some of its Cover Story features and give a small tidbit that didn’t make the issue but is still worth diving into. “Laser Focused: Why Honig Winery Built Success on Just 2 Varietals” appears in the November/December issue of Vintner.
Creativity is great and innovation is awesome, but creating just two exceptional wines is what’s the goal for Honig Vineyard and Winery, explained Michael Honig in the interview for the November/December issue of Vintner.
Starting in the early 80s and building upon its two brands, a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Sauvignon Blanc, the winery hasn’t delved into trends and has built a solid business plan on sales of 60-70,000 cases per year in the Napa Valley. Honig says the amount that they produce is enough to get it out into retail, but not enough to have to rely on huge retailers for sales.
“It’s a size where you’re efficient,” he said. “You’re relevant to your distributors, but you’re not so big that you’d have to sell [everywhere].”
Rosés, or Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cabs aren’t things Honig looks to create.
“I mean, those are fine, but those are just little marketing trinkets,” he said. “I don’t feel a longevity in that.
“I think most brands, if you talk to their marketing people and say, ‘Look, you’ve got 10 items. What if we got rid of five of them?’ They’d say: ‘Great, because we have five that do really well, and we have five that suck. We’re always trying to focus on the five that don’t do well to the detriment of the ones that are successful.’
“Well get rid of them, the ones that aren’t working.”
Honig feels that Corporate America is about market share and share of mind, which forces some wineries to think they have got to have something to keep relevant and topical.
“And that’s the challenge, I think oftentimes, is how do you keep relevant if you’re not just making a new item,” Honig pondered. “We’ve come up with ways to keep relevant, not by doing a Chardonnay, but we keep relevant now by talking about sustainability; we’re generational or tracking the millennials.”
Photo courtesy Honig Winery