It’s harvest time in the Napa Valley — the busiest, but also the most important time of the year for the local wine industry. While some may view harvest as the end of the life cycle of the grape, to me, it is the beginning: the birth of a new vintage and another opportunity to craft the quality wine that has made Napa Valley famous and has preserved our way of life as an agrarian county.
For many Napa County locals, harvest can also be a challenging time; there’s more traffic on the roads caused by grape trucks and by tourists coming to visit during this exciting time of the year.
Yes, it takes longer to drive from Napa to Calistoga or to get a seat in your favorite restaurant, but if you become frustrated by these inconveniences, I humbly ask for your patience, because this business activity adds significantly to our way of life.
The Napa Valley wine industry and related businesses create 46,000 local jobs. Even if you don’t work directly in the industry yourself, surely a friend or neighbor does. Our midsize winery employs nearly two dozen residents, and it has been an honor to know that, for the past 50 years, our family business has helped many of our team members to achieve their own dreams.
These employees contributed to our success, and now their families are contributing to our nation’s success by going to college, becoming doctors, nurses, teachers and others living the American dream.
Because of the demand for Napa Valley wine around the world, we’ve been able to maintain our home as a farming community. While other Bay Area counties have been paved over with freeways or built up with strip malls, Napa Valley has remained a scenic wonder.
The worldwide reputation of Napa Valley wine has also allowed the industry to give back through charitable donations raised at the many auctions that take place around the valley each year.
This is my 30th harvest, and I’m proud to be a third-generation Napa Valley vintner, caretaker of my family’s vineyard.
Our fourth generation is rapidly growing up; my children attend local public schools, and we’re trying to teach them the values of hard work, civic duty and philanthropy so that they, too, can continue the legacy started by my grandfather in Rutherford in the early 1960s.
So, this harvest season, I encourage you to relish the gorgeous weather and the scenic beauty of our valley.
Even if you don’t work in the wine industry, it’s part of what makes Napa Valley a unique and special place.
It’s part of what makes me proud to call Napa Valley my home.
Honig is president of Honig Vineyard & Winery in Rutherford and serves on the Napa Valley Vintners’ board of directors.