Vintners Ron and Sue-Marie Haber Are Passionate About Howell Mountain, Winemaker Tim Milos and Their Extended Family at Haber Family Vineyards.
Both Habers, Ron and his wife Sue- Marie, were bitten by the wine bug in their youth, became collectors in the 1990s and fans of Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon at a special event in 2003. Staying at various times at a friend’s 20-acre farm on the mountain, they made their own decision to buy Howell Mountain property before they retired from Ron’s successful glass business in New York.
As the Haber Family Vineyard plans and brand developed, and the farm grew, they made the decision to move full time to the property. Ron’s title on his business card reads, “Retired 2B Tired”.
“Instead of slowing down in retirement we have found the vintner’s life very challenging and rejuvenating.” Ron said. Sue-Marie worried that Ron would not have enough to challenge him in a different and slower lifestyle when they finally moved to their Howell Mountain property. This change of business and lifestyle was the best thing for this loving couple that loved Howell Mountain.
And one thing about Howell Mountain, besides its well known terroir that includes the perfect climate, soil, fog and altitude that all contribute in getting outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon – the Habers, in the very beginning put their focus on the clones. They started with two clones that they knew and loved and their winemaker, Tim Milos, added a third to their 2.5-acre vineyard making for the complexity of their 100-percent Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon.
“You’ve got to trust your winemaker – Tim Milos has been with us since the beginning – and also the entire farming team,” Ron said. “That way you are doing it right from the start. My dad taught me to not be scared to always surround yourself with the best of what you do not know.”
Their label was designed to pay homage to Ron’s father – who started a very successful glass and window business in 1944 that Ron and his brother took over – in every label on every bottle of wine. Coming from the world of glass the Habers never wanted to use the customary paper label, which hides the characteristics of glass – instead, each one is screen-printed or etched. The Haber bottle is a scene viewed through a four-paned window – paying homage to the 70-year old family business – and is a view of mountain tops peeking out above a layer of valley fog, topped by a starry night blue starry sky (not visible to Ron in New York) and a crescent moon above Venus.
The Habers are passionate about sitting with Milos every year tasting through the wines as they progress, and only deciding when the wines are ready when it “speaks to everyone’s heart. We craft our wines in a style that we both like because if we can’t sell it we have to drink it.”
The couple is passionate about having this second career and keeping it small, so they resist the urge to get bigger. And because of this they have been lucky enough to meet ninety percent of all of their private members that are spread across the U.S., from Howell Mountain to New York City and Europe. “We keep our club memberships open for extended family.” The pair said in unison. And the club is aptly called Friends of the Vineyard.
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Article By: Eve Bushman