Julie and Frank Husic purchased their property in 1995. They quickly learned the county was preparing to pass an anti-hillside planting ordinance, and if they wanted to plant vineyards, they would have to do it immediately. Viticulturist Jim Barbour of Barbour Vineyards was hired to help facilitate this process. The permit was granted in 1996 and the vines were planted in 1997. The vineyards were planted on land never lived on before. The ground needed to be cleared, dynamited and terraced for planting the three Husic Vineyards, totaling approximately nine acres. These vineyards can never be duplicated. The Husic Family is very grateful for the beautiful land they live on, and the incredible grapes produced by their three, small, rocky, steep vineyards overlooking the Stags Leap District.
The Husic’s vineyards are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, and a tiny amount of Petit Verdot for blending. The vineyards go from the Valley floor to approximately 900 feet up the hillside. Some of the lower vines are planted in the “official boundary” of the Stags Leap District, and the remaining vineyards lie above the “line” of the appellation. It took four years to reach a mature crop, so the first year harvested and crushed was in the fall of 2001.
Husic Vineyards produces six wines: the estate grown Husic Vineyards Cabernet and Palm Terrace Cabernet, Husic Vineyards Chardonnay, and the Husic Vineyards Pinot Noir, Husic Vineyards Late Harvest Semillon and Palm Terrace Rosé from Pinot Noir. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes are purchased from vineyards on the “true” Sonoma Coast, near Occidental. The wines are made by the renowned Michael Hirby.
Located in downtown Durham, NanaSteak is the newest addition to the Nana’s family of restaurants by executive chef, Scott Howell. NanaSteak opened its doors in February 2016 in a newly built space located next to the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) and Aloft Durham Downtown Hotel. This restaurant is a vision and partnership between husband-and-wife-team, Scott Howell & Aubrey Zinaich-Howell and their long-time friends and former Nana’s employees, Tyler Joplin Vanderzee, Brad Weddington and Graham Weddington.
The restaurant boasts a beautiful corner location with abundant natural light. It was designed and built by Jack Moore of Gateway Building Company. In an homage to Durham’s long tobacco history, the bar top and tables are inlaid with real tobacco leaves, artfully crafted by Artisan Leaf. With windows into the kitchen on the exterior of the building and in the dining room, passerby’s and diners alike can enjoy a rare glimpse into the heart of the restaurant.
Chef-Owner Scott Howell can still be spotted delivering dishes to tables in his signature uniform: chef whites, shorts and ball cap. Trained at the Culinary Institute of America, he brought his curiosity, energy and his genteel manners to the New York culinary world. After graduating from CIA, his quest for culinary perfection led him to italy where he worked for a year at the prestigious San Domenico. In 1990, after experiences at famous restaurants in New York, he followed his heart back to North Carolina where he was the sous chef for a year and a half under acclaimed chef Ben Barker at Magnolia Grill. In 1992 the dream of owning his own restaurant came true with the opening of Nana’s.