The Spring Mountain District AVA and the surrounding Napa Valley brings in hundreds of thousands of tourists each year to explore wine country. After spending a morning or afternoon learning more about some of your favorite small vintners, you'll want to stretch your legs and explore some of the most beautiful land in California. Here are a few suggestions to help you make the most of your time in St. Helena.
1. Rent a Bicycle. St. Helena is not a large city geographically, so a bike is a great way to become familiar with the local stores, restaurants and other attractions. In St. Helena, there's plenty of hills and curves to keep the ride interesting, while down in the Valley, you get a more relaxing ride.
2. Picnic in the Park. Take along a bottle of your favorite local wine and head to Crane Park on a sunny afternoon. Playgrounds, bocce courts, tennis courts, volleyball nets and picnic spots abound, so you can enjoy the weather and a relaxing day burning off some excess energy.
3. Hiking Oat Hill Mine. For an all day adventure in the mountains, enjoy an exciting walk along the old stage couch route the Oat Hill Mine Trail. The 8.3 miles of dirt track are surrounded by stunning vistas of the peaks and forests below. Watching the sun move across the sky, lighting up the mountains and valley is an unforgettable experience. If you want a more gentle adventure, you can always turn back at the base of the Palisades. It is a natural halfway point that lets you experience all of nature's wonder.
4. Camp on Spring Mountain. The Bothe-Napa Valley State Park sits virtually on Spring Mountain, with all of the views and natural beauty of the local scenery. Camping is available if setting up for a night under the stars sounds like a romantic way to spend a weekend, and day trips are always welcome. Hiking trails lead you past stands of redwood trees and a variety of firs. Don't forget your swimming gear since the pool is open during the summer season. Pack a fun picnic with a few delicious local wine pairings and soak up the sites as you sip on your bounty.
5. Explore the Mount St. Helena Trail. The challenging Mount St. Helena Trail is 9.3 miles of some fairly tough hiking, but the view from the top might even have you forgetting to break out the wine. The mountain top reaches 4,342 feet, giving you an unparalleled view of the flower covered slopes. You'll climb nearly 2100 feet during the hike, but it is all on a wide dirt track, so no worries about getting lost or breaking new ground.
1. Balloon Accessions. Take an hour or two near sunset to appreciate a bird's eye view of the Valley laid out before you from up high in the sky. With all the noise and activity left behind, you and your significant other can enjoy the serene beauty of floating above mountains, lakes, rivers and more.
2. Saunter up the Napa River and Bay Trail. Romantic views and scenic overlooks are part of the fun along the Napa River and Bay Trail. Walking hand-in-hand as you take in the wonderful views is more than just romantic, it's dreamy and charming as you watch the sunset go down on another great vacation day.
3. Tour the Culinary Institutes of America Campus. Combine a romantic meal with some shopping for your kitchen at this non-profit school that has turned out some world-renowned chefs. Tasting plates and nibbles keep you satisfied without weighing you down as you explore everything the campus has to offer.
4. Tour a Tuscan Castle. You won't need to visit Tuscany to see a castle with that style of architecture. St. Helena has its very own example. General admission tickets are available, and nothing says romance like a classic Tuscan castle.
Whether your next trip to the Spring Mountain District AVA is for business or pleasure, there are plenty of outdoor activities to round out your trip. Be sure to schedule a visit to Sherwin Family Vineyards and taste our award winning estate cabernet on your next visit.
There's nothing like sitting back with a great meal and enjoying a lush, vibrant and flavorful glass of wine at the end of a long day. If there is a particular type of spring mountain varietal you would like to enjoy, your options include everything from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. White wines come from Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling. All of these varietals do well on the partly shaded slopes of the mountains surrounding Napa Valley. The most popular Spring Mountain varietals are the deep reds of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, followed by white wines like Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.
One of the most well-known varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon grapes have black, tough skins that make them very hardy. Expect to see fields full of Cabernet Sauvignon anywhere they make reds. The lush aromas of vanilla and currant are part of this wine's tasting experience, paired with a medium body and hard tannins. When sipping on a wine made from Cabernet Sauvignon, you might taste anything from mint to bell pepper, depending on the ripeness of the grapes at harvest. Pair your bottle with a meat course, cheese course or any rich, creamy sauce.
Merlot vines also produce black grapes that create a smooth, low tannin wine that is a great choice when developing your palate. The clean, herbal aroma conceals luxurious flavors of chocolate, plum and black cherry, all wrapped up in a medium body wine with smooth acidity. Try a fruity and flavorful merlot the next time you enjoy a fish dish, or you're in the mood for some Spanish cuisine.
If you enjoy a bit of the bubbly now and again, you've probably already enjoyed Chardonnay grapes. The white skins lead to a pale or golden colored wine, and the fruit grows on a particularly hardy vine, making it one of the most popular white varietals. In addition to its ability to grow in a range of climates, chardonnay grapes also take on flavors quickly, easily and completely. Two different growers can produce very different versions of Chardonnay, even when the grape varietal is the same. You'll enjoy everything from toast to pineapple in the aroma of a Chardonnay.
California-made Sauvignon Blanc tends to bring out the best of the fruity aromas and flavors in this white grape varietal. While very few Spring Mountain wineries produce Sauvignon Blanc, those that do offer a light, crisply acidic version that goes well with the fresh and vibrant produce of the area.
To enjoy the crisp white varietals, be sure to visit Spring Mountain earlier in the season. This is when most producers harvest their white grapes. For the more full-bodied reds, come back towards the end of the harvest season. Cabernet Sauvignon is often one of the last varietals to reach harvest and start the long process of becoming a rich, smooth and enjoyable bottle of wine.
Sherwin Family Vineyards proudly produces award winning wines including our estate cabernet sauvignon. We are also the only producer of the Patriotic Pour. Come relax on our vineyard terrace and sample our wines on your next visit. To schedule a tasting please contact us or book online here.
During March and April, Spring Mountain in St. Helena comes to life. The wineries are preparing their vineyards for the growing season, fruit trees are blossoming, and the brisk days add an invigorating spring to the step. If you plan on visiting the Spring Mountain District on your next trip to St. Helena, here are a few other attractions to visit.
Culinary Institute of America
The Culinary Institute of America operates their Greystone facility in St. Helena. The building dates back to the late 1800’s and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They offer cooking demonstrations and single day classes for food and wine lovers. The Spice Islands Marketplace offers everything related to the culinary arts, with daily weekday tours, and afternoon tours on weekends. On campus dining includes a casual atmosphere at Gatehouse Restaurant, and The Bakery Café has a wonderful assortment of coffees and baked goods as well.
Robert Louis Stevenson Museum
St. Helena was home to the famous writer, Robert Louis Stevenson, and the town has a museum to commemorate his works. As your family learns about this awe-inspiring man, you can see exhibits and artifacts which illustrate his life and learn how our beautiful area contributed to his writings. The Robert Louis Stevenson Museum is free to the public every afternoon Tuesday through Saturday, and private after-hours tours are available by special appointment.
The Christopher Hill Gallery
Located on Main Street, in St. Helena, this contemporary art gallery features 2 and 3 dimensional art, and provides custom framing to corporate and individual clients. The gallery has been in operation for 15 years, and is open weekdays except Tuesdays, from mid-morning until after 5:00. Contact the gallery for more information regarding current exhibits at the time of your visit.
Napa Valley Aloft
A warm springtime day is perfect for family excursions aboard a hot air balloon. There are several hot air balloon tours available in the area, but Napa Valley Aloft is one of the oldest and offers a variety of options for origination and balloon size. Their balloons are FAA certified, and several package deals are available. You are going to have an appetite at the end of the ride, so plan on sticking around for brunch after your landing.
There are plenty of places to visit and include on your next trip to Spring Mountain in St. Helena. Start or finish your next day trip with a visit to Sherwin Family Vineyards. We would love to share our award winning wines with you as you relax and enjoy the beauty of Spring Mountain.
St. Helena, California, is home to the Spring Mountain District AVA, a consortium of family-owned wineries. It is perfectly situated in Napa Valley’s wine growing district, which provides a perfect backdrop for an intimate February getaway and discover the best Spring Mountain wineries in our area.
You will discover early on that most of the vineyards in this area are built on top vineyards which were closed down during Prohibition, and only returned to business-- usually under new owners-- in the latter part of the 1900’s. Many of the vineyards are family owned and operated, so be sure to schedule your visit in advance. February is a good month to make an appointment at Sherwin and any of our neighbors, as it is a more laid-back time of year, between the frenzy of veraison.
When planning your wine tasting day, we recommend between two and three wineries with a maximum visit of four in one day. Most tours and tastings may last anywhere between one and one-half hours to two hours depending on the type of appointment you have scheduled. Plus, you’ll want to spend time, relax and take in the uniqueness of each vineyard.
A sample wine tasting day (Four wineries)
By appointment only:
Schweiger Vineyards - Every vintage of Schweiger Cabernet is from the same small blocks 2000 feet above the Napa Valley, at the apex of the Spring Mountain District.
Barnett Vineyards - Their first vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon was in 1989, and produced only 100 cases. They have expanded over the years, and today produce 8,000 cases annually.
Sherwin Family Vineyards – Schedule an afternoon tasting and have lunch delivered from Dean & Delucca while you experience our award-winning wines on our patio terrace.
Vineyard 7 & 8 - Perched at an elevation of 2020 feet, this family-owned vineyard is the proud producer of Estate Chardonnay and Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.
There is always something going on in St. Helena, and February is a great time for you and your partner to enjoy an intimate dinner and other festivities. Many of the wineries on Spring Mountain are only open on weekdays, but there are weekend events for couples and families alike. In February, plan on enjoying one or more of these fine events:
Afternoon Tea at Acacia House - Every afternoon, Acacia House at Los Alcobas offers guests fresh-baked pastries, loose leaf teas, and more, in a comfortable environment.
Chinese New Year at Beringer Vineyards - Ring in the Year of the Dog on Saturday, February 10th. Festivities include traditional Lion Dances and special wine tastings.
Lobster Feast at Markham Vineyards - Features fresh seafood, live music, hors-d'oeuvres. This is the perfect way to complete your day.
Valentine’s Day Dinner at the Cask Room - For an intimate and tasteful Valentine’s Day dinner, replete with sparkling wine and live, local music.
Valentine’s Dinner at Acacia House - Another option for a superb dinner is the remarkable dining experience of Los Alcobas, in the heart of St. Helena. Featuring Oysters, short ribs, and more, this is an award-winning culinary experience.
Wine Country Inn - Set in a vineyard near the historic towns of St. Helena and Calistoga, California, the Wine Country Inn & Cottages has been continually recognized as one of the Napa Valley’s finest boutique hotels for romantic getaways, relaxing escapes, and social retreats.
Whether you choose to visit two, three or four wineries on Spring Mountain road for a day of wine tasting, be sure to pack plenty of water and snacks and take your time enjoying every little detail.
As a family owned and operated winery on Spring Mountain, tastings are by appointment only allowing us to ensure the best possible experience. Please call us at 707-963-1154 or click here to make your tasting appointment. We look forward to seeing you soon!
When we think of mountains and mountain grapes we often look for a peak to reference and vines growing along terraced slopes. While Spring Mountain has over 30 vineyards and vines planted on beautiful slants, it derives its name from a group of springs and mountains that form a boundary between Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley. Sherwin Family is proud to be a Spring Mountain winery.
Nestled on the side of the Mayacamas Mountains, above the scenic town of St. Helena is Spring Mountain, an area that became an American Viticulture Area (AVA) in 1993. The Spring Mountain area has been known for producing fine vintages for more than 25 years.
Wine lovers first started planting Spring Mountain grapes in 1874, when Charles Lemme led a small wave of growers into production. He started with a 25-acre operation that was known as La Perla Vineyard. Less than a decade later, the Beringers expanded to Spring Mountain from their existing St. Helena operation.
Spring Mountain wine started making the news when San Francisco banker, Tiburcio Parrott, established Miravalle and built a Victorian-style home in the area. When asked about his plans, the banker publicly declared that he would be producing world-class wines on his rocky, inclined soil. Though the statement drew laughs in 1893, Miravalle won a gold medal at the World's Fair. Today, Miravalle is part of Spring Mountain Vineyard.
Out of the 8,600-acres encompassed in the Spring Mountain District AVA, 1,000 acres already have wine grapes growing in neatly terraced rows. Nestled on the hillsides, these vineyards often seem far away from the traditional image of a wine-making operation, and the forest surroundings provide privacy and mystique. This area enjoys some of the lowest average temperatures in the region, along with plenty of moisture. This combination of low temperatures and moisture gives grapes time to go through veraison, the process of ripening.
When the Spring Mountain area was recognized as an AVA in 1993, it invited enthusiasts to explore and invest in new vineyards. In 1996, Sherwin Family Vineyards was established and our first wine was released, a Cabernet Sauvignon, three years later. Be sure to schedule a visit and treat yourself to world-class wines in an idyllic setting overlooking our vineyards, lake, and fountain. Please call us at 707-963-1154 or click here to make your tasting appointment. We look forward to seeing you soon!
The St. Helena Spring Mountain District is the perfect place to escape the holiday stress. The hustle and bustle of harvest season is behind the wineries now, allowing ample time to relax, enjoy fruits of their labors, and experience the holidays in the style of California’s wine country. We have put together a few of the area’s more popular holiday events, but keep in mind that celebrations are going on all over the Valley, and give yourself time to experience as much as possible.
Holiday lights are a staple of the season, and the Spring Mountain District is no different. In addition to usual fare of seasonal lighting, area wineries are lighting up as well. A couple of great examples to experience this season are Lighting of the Vines at Calistoga Ranch, and Peju Province Winery’s lighted sycamores.
In the St Helena region, holiday happy hours are abundant. Enjoy drinks and dining at Cook Tavern or Archetype, relax over a steak at Press, or settle in for a culinary experience at Feast of the Seven Cultures, a holiday event at Acacia House. Wine tastings and happy hours can be found throughout the Napa Valley, and St. Helena’s unique atmosphere is a perfect place to gather with friends. From fine wines to extravagant dining, you will find something for every appetite.
Holiday wining and dining reach new levels of style and extravagance in Spring Mountain District. Begin your holiday adventure with a ride on the Santa Wine Train, a Christmas themed tour from St. Helena down to Napa, with hot cocoa and freshly baked cookies for all. A number of area resorts and wineries put on special holiday dinners and events or participate in a themed New Year’s experience at unique local establishments such as the Speakeasy-themed Goose & Gander. The Wine Train is an option for New Year’s Eve, as well, offering an intimate and elegant excursion featuring a 4-course dinner and refreshments as you journey through California’s wine country.
St. Helena’s Spring Mountain District may be famous for the quality wines, but it has a lot to offer visitors during the holidays as well. Showing off our favorite local wines is always on our minds, so set aside a little time to visit Sherwin Family Vineyards in the Spring Mountain District and get to know the people behind the award-winning wines.
For wine lovers like myself, the Spring Mountain Harvest Celebration is an event worth looking forward to. We, along with many of our fellow Spring Mountain wineries will be in attendance on November 16th in San Francisco. This celebration has been an entire year in the making, from the cool weather pruning through veraison, followed by the critical vinting process.
The Spring Mountain Harvest Celebration is the culmination of a season’s hard work. Sherwin Family Vineyards along with other vintners from the Spring Mountain district will come together to showcase our wines at The Golden Gate Club in San Francisco on November 16th from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm. This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the Spring Mountain district in St. Helena and the many boutique wineries on the mountain.
At $75 per person, this event is a great way to taste wines from an amazing list of wineries, as the average tasting fees range from $25 pp up to $75+ per person.
Below is a list of the Spring Mountain wineries that will be pouring select library wines, current release wines and offering barrel samples.
Sherwin Family Vineyards, home of the patriotic pour, is a boutique winery nestled on Spring Mountain in St. Helena. If you have any questions about our award winning wines or would like to visit our tasting rooms please contact us at Sherwin Family Vineyards.
There's never a dull moment in the life of a vintner. Our yearly harvests follow a perpetual guessing game of whether the right amount of rainfall and supplemental irrigation will nourish our vines at just the right time to yield the perfect grapes for an exceptional vintage. This delicate balance sometimes feels like walking a tightrope while simultaneously gazing into a crystal ball. But now, the 2017 harvest season in St. Helena is within sight, and the view looks spectacular. Our grapes have experienced quite a season this year, and now they're in the maturing process of veraison.
What is Veraison?
It marks the beginning of the final stage in the maturing process for grapes -- when the berries begin to change color and start to soften.
Veraison is the culmination of these stages:
Stage 1 begins at bud break in spring and goes to bloom time, before the fruit forms on the vine. The vines' water needs are relatively low during this stage, depending in large part on the stored soil moisture from winter rains. We had so much rain this past winter (after droughts in recent years) that the Napa River reached flood levels. This resulted in a higher water table than we've had in a while, which increased the soil's stored moisture levels, facilitated vine turgor, and beautifully set the stage for healthy vegetative growth.
Stage 2 begins when the grape flowers fade, and the fruit forms. It's a period of rapid growth when the grapes are firm and green. The organic acids are high, and the sugar content is low.
Stage 3 is a bit of a lag phase, as grape growth slows down and the acid level reaches its maximum concentration. Too much irrigation during this stage can stress our vines, so our viticulturists must monitor watering needs precisely.
Stage 4 is the final stage -- from veraison to harvest. During this stage, viticulturists and vintners can sense a palpable and growing excitement. Our grapes begin to lose their acidic content as the sugar concentrations accumulate. As the grapes begin to soften, they also change color. By taking advantage of our location atop Spring Mountain, I designed and constructed our winery as a gravity-flow facility. As soon as we harvest our grapes, the gravity-directed process needs minimal intervention to process the fruit gently. The result is a superior juice because of the reduced tannic acid levels.
2017 Sherwin Family Vineyards Wine Forecast
With our grapes transitioning from veraison to harvest our grapes are poised to make 2017 one of our best years!
If you have any questions about the wine making process at our St Helena winery or would like to visit our tasting rooms please contact us at Sherwin Family Vineyards.
Auction Napa Valley, the world's leading charity wine event, is just days away, and we're excited to participate this year. Our Sherwin 2015 Estate Cabernet is among other great, notable wines included in the barrel auction on Friday, June 2 from 11am to 3pm.
Fortunately for wine lovers who can't make the trip to Napa, part of the auction is electronic and you can bid from anywhere in the world. Pre-registration is easy, and your participation will contribute to the well-being of an entire region.
Auction Napa Valley was first conceived in 1981 by winemakers in the area as a fundraiser for health and education non-profit organizations in the county. The event supports health services for residents of all ages and educational advancement for children. To date more than $170 million has been raised to benefit 25 local nonprofits in the 36 years the auction has existed.
Since all bidding is electronic, we suggest you download the apps a bit early to be sure everything is operating properly. This year's barrel auction offers 108 lots of wine futures by the case and is on Friday, June 2, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Inglenook in Rutherford.
Step 2: Choose how you want to bid
Step 3: Review the barrel bidding rules
Step 4: Set your calendar appointment to Friday, June 2 at 11am to bid
We love the excitement of the live sale! The opportunity to taste Napa’s best wines straight from the barrels coupled with excited bidding gives bidders a shot at some of the best wines in the world. The top 10 bidders in each lot win a case of wine from that barrel (unfortunately, they don't get to keep the barrel).
In the barrel auction, the majority are Cabernets and Chardonnays as the valley's soil produces very high quality grapes of those varieties, but the various vineyards grow about three-dozen different varietals. Some barrels will be wine of purely one variety while others will be blends. The Sherwin 2015 Estate Cab is a blend of 90 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 8 percent Merlot and 2 percent Cabernet Franc in the style of wines created in the Bordeaux region of France.
In addition to the barrel auction, there will be almost 40 “Only In Your Dreams” live auction lots of collectible, rare Napa Valley wines, and almost 200 lots in a global E-Auction.
Following the auction is a celebration at Meadowood Napa Valley, featuring a meal designed by Francis Coppola and prepared by an incredible culinary staff.
If you are able, please join us – in person or via Internet for Auction Napa Valley. It's a wonderful opportunity to purchase some great wines, donate generously to a community and enjoy a fun weekend. If you are unable to attend and would like to taste our collection of wines, please contact us or call us at (707) 963-1154 to schedule a tasting room visit.
Keep up to date on the latest wine releases, events, and promotions.