For most wine drinkers, Italian Moscato is considered a sweet aperitif, best enjoyed after dinner. Honey Bubbles Sparkling Moscato is looking to change that perception, with the launch of its more mild, multi-faceted version.
Honey Bubbles co-founders, Christiana Gifford and Scott Roughgarden, met in 2013 when they were both servers at Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica.
The two self-described “wine geeks” stumbled upon the subject of Moscato, which—while it might not seem mainstream—is one of the fastest-growing segments in the U.S. wine industry among millennials and women.
The conversation sparked an idea: Why not start a Moscato brand? “I went to Christiana and said, ‘We should do this,’” Scott, a Valley dweller, recalls.
Christiana, who had recently relocated to LA from Las Vegas, jumped at the opportunity.
“Scott and I had a great working relationship from day one. You learn a lot about someone when you’re waiting tables with them in a very busy restaurant,” she says.
The duo started working together to produce a Moscato that was a bit subtler than most varieties.
“The residual sugar was so high in everything we tried. We pulled back the sugar so it’s not as sweet, doubling the alcohol to 11%,” Scott explains.
In 2014, after securing financing and a production facility in northern Italy, Honey Bubbles was officially uncorked.
With notes of pear, tangerine blossom and white flowers, it’s light and refreshing. The business partners say Honey Bubbles goes with all types of cuisines—from spicy dishes to farm-fresh salads. Their favorite pairing is Humboldt Fog cheese.
Honey Bubbles is now sold at hotels, cruise lines and restaurants around the world, including several locations here in the Valley. The wine can be found at Barrel & Ashes, Vitello’s, Davenport’s, Mexicali, The Sherman and Vendome Wines & Spirits in Studio City.
In case you are wondering, honey is not an ingredient, but rather a cause the owners feel strongly about. Both are concerned with colony collapse disorder, which occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear and leave behind a queen, plenty of food and a few nurse bees to care for the remaining immature bees. Honey Bubbles gives back a portion of its profits to urban beekeepers, education and organizations that remove bees in a way that does not threaten their existence.
The food is only part of the charm.