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About Us

OUR STORY

Milt and Marilyn Honea were high school sweethearts who met at Mt. Diablo High School in Concord before attending UC Berkeley. The couple got married in 1955, and then Milt earned his MBA at Harvard Business School, launching him into a long, distinguished career that ended with him serving as President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board of Centerpoint Energy in Houston.

After Milt retired in 1997, the Honeas moved to Santa Barbara, the region where they would purchase the 40-acre property that would become Honea Vineyards in 2002. Despite coming into the world of viticulture from a completely different background, Milt tackled the family’s new project with the same enthusiasm and work ethic that made him a great businessman. With assistance from Marilyn, their children and grandchildren, the Honeas  turned a property that included just one acre of grape plantings, with pet horses roaming the rest of the land, into 18 acres upon which Italian grapes were planted, with the help of Steve Clifton of Palmina Wines.

Milt passed away in 2008, but the family remained committed to the land and grapes that he worked so hard and lovingly to plant six years earlier. In 2016, the Honea family entered a relationship with Margerum Wine Company, and with the help of Coastal Vineyard Care Associates, the Italian varietals were removed, and new Rhône grapes were planted. The quality of the fruit and the wine produced show the versatility of the Honea Vineyards, which now provides Margerum with 11 different Rhône varietals.

OUR HISTORY

The journey to create Honea Vineyards

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Relocated to Santa Barbara

1997

Exploration and research of the wine region begins

Honea Vineyards Founded

2002

Purchase of the 40-acre property that would become Honea Vineyards

The First Pairing: Honea Vineyards and Palmina Wines

2002

Worked with Palmina winemaker Steve Clifton to transform the property to specialize in Italian grape varietals

First Honea Vineyards and Palmina Wines Harvest

2005

Harvest of premium Italian grape varietals, including Arneis, Moscato, Pinot Grigio, Tocai Friulano, Barbera, Dolcetto, Lagrein, Merlot, Nebbiolo and Sangiovese

President of the Santa Barbara County Vintners Association

2006

Milt Honea served as President of the Santa Barbara County Vintners Association, helped grow the Vintner’s Festival and initiated the creation of the Los Olvios AVA

The Perfect Pairing: Honea Vineyards and Margerum Winery

2016

Transformed the 18-acre vineyard to specialize exclusively in Rhône grape varietals, with the goal of becoming the premier grower of these varietals in Santa Barbara County

First Honea Vineyards and Margerum Winery Harvest

2017

First harvest, resulting in the 2017 M5 White, 2017 M5 Red, 2017 Viognier and 2017 Syrah

Award-Winning Margerum 2017 M5 White

2018

Made of 100% Honea Vineyards grapes, the 2017 M5 White earned 92 points by Vinous, 92 points and the Editors’ Choice from Wine Enthusiast and 90 points and Best Buy from Wine & Spirits

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