Humboldt Honey Wine is a Eureka company started by Paul and Heidi Leslie that grew out of Paul’s love of both bees and craft beer. Paul was given a beer making kit for Christmas in 2012, and he says that he “found out quickly that I will never be a beer maker.” But happily for Eureka, with the equipment and some surplus honey he tried his hand at wine making instead! Although he never planned to become a craft brewer, four years have gone by, and Paul and Heidi have now opened a brewing and tasting location at 723 3rd Street in Old Town Eureka.
Did you know it takes over 800 gallons of water to make one gallon of grape wine? It takes less than one gallon of water to make one gallon of Humboldt Honey Wine. No toxic chemicals (such as sulphites) are used to raise the bees or make the wine, and waste byproducts are almost zero. Humboldt Honey Wine’s bees also provide essential pollination services for the surrounding area, and Paul and Heidi are working hard to increase the population and the health of bees in our community.
Paul and Heidi started brewing honey wine commercially in October 2014 at their original location at 130 West 4th Street. They began selling at the Farmers Market in Arcata the following season, and figured the first run of wine would last most of the summer—but sold out in May. As more people tried their wine, the demand grew, and in April of 2015 Humboldt Honey Wine was voted Best Wine on the North Coast. Paul and Leslie decided to expand and purchased bigger and better equipment, and their first big run was ready to bottle when disaster struck. On June 3rd, 2016, a fire started in an adjoining building and destroyed the winery. In the aftermath, Humboldt Honey Wine has rebuilt with the help of friends and family and are now located at 723 3rd Street, closer to the heart of Old Town.
This brand-new location boasts a diversified set of features in addition to the production area, including a great tasting room, a gift shop, and soon a commercial kitchen where Paul and Heidi plan to serve foods that pair perfectly with honey wine. At this stage of production, the majority of the work is performed by the family, with their son, Andrew, and Paul’s Mom, Sandi, pitching in when extra help is needed. Once their new location is more established, however, they hope to take on several full time-employees.
Paul and Heidi hope to continue to grow and expand in Eureka, increase productions, and to become a landmark in the community. They enjoy being part of Eureka's growing number of entrepreneurs and with Eureka’s diverse population and central location within the county they feel like they fit right in. When the fire destroyed their original location, Paul says “we knew we would rebuild and we knew we would rebuild in Eureka.” Feel free to stop by their new location, and support this excellent local business!