From wine cultivation to corking, the husband-and-wife team of Favia Wines handles it all. Photos: courtesy of Favia Wines
When Andy Erickson and Annie Favia-Erickson moved to Napa Valley in the early 90s, both were focused on one thing—finding work in the wine business.
“We had just moved to Napa separately for a love of growing grapes and making wine,” says Andy.
Finding another love was not the plan. But after crossing paths occasionally over the years, Annie went to dinner at a friend’s house in February 1995. Andy was her friend’s roommate. A few months later, during the fall growing season, they were dating and made their first wine together. They married in 1998 and haven’t stopped making wine since.
“We were lucky to meet each other,” he says.
The husband-and-wife team approach wine from different perspectives; she cares for the vines and grapes as a viticulturist while he creates the finished product as a vintner. In 2003 they began Favia Wines, a Napa Valley winery that combines their skill sets and shared passion.
Both have proven pedigrees in Northern California wine country. Annie worked as a viticulturist for many years under David Abreu until 2009, when she devoted her full focus to Favia. Andy’s been a winemaker and consultant for a number of vineyards including Ovid, Dalla Valle, and cult-wine Screaming Eagle. Now, the two are part of a five-person team that produces just a few hundred cases of wine each year.
The Ericksons grow their grapes on different properties in Northern California but their Napa Valley wines are made on a 6.5-acre winery that they call home in Coombsville. Located in southeast Napa Valley, Coombsville has recently caught the attention of oenophiles after receiving an American Viticultural Area, or AVA, designation in 2011. The geographically defined grape-growing region gives wine an added prestige.
Andy believes the volcanic soil in the region combined with cooler temperatures from San Francisco Bay create unique qualities.
“The fruit ripens more slowly and you have more of a—I’d say a broader spectrum of flavors.”
Two of Favia’s nine wines are made with grapes from Coombsville, including its 2014 Favia Cerro Sur that Annie describes as their flagship wine. This cabernet franc-based beverage features flavors of cinnamon, lavender, cocoa, cardamom, and candied ginger.
The pair will be attending this year’s Hawaii Food & Wine Festival as part of an evening called “Winederland,” presented by Hawaiian Airlines. The event, which will be held at the Hawaii Convention Center on Oct. 26, is described as a “who’s who” of cabernets and will showcase 20 Napa Valley wines by Opus One, Silver Oak and of course, Favia, paired with 20 dishes from top chefs.
Warren Shon, the executive vice president and general manager at Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits of Hawaii, invites the wineries and mixologists for the festival. “Generally speaking we don’t invite a lot of giant wine companies,” says Shon. “We want the event to be all about the quality of the wines that are being served.”
A bottle of Favia can cost anywhere from $75 to $175, while Opus One currently has two releases priced $130 and $325 for a single bottle and Silver Oak wines start at $75. Tickets to try all at Winederland start at $225. “You could very well get your bang for your buck in the first four wines that you try,” Shon says.
While Annie and Andy’s partnership makes sense on a practical level—after all, you need to grow great grapes to make the great wine—they say it’s more than that. Andy calls Annie adventurous, a quality that he says she brings to Favia Wines whereas he describes himself as more business-minded. In a way, they balance each other out.
“We both are really excited and passionate about what we do on a daily basis and it makes it super fun to be collaborating together,” says Annie. “We feel very blessed.”