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.
Serving wine should be a straightforward, simple affair. Just uncork and pour. However, if you ever had the misfortune of encountering a crumbly cork, you will appreciate learning to decant wine. At our St. Helena vineyard, we often decant many types of wine for various reasons.
There are two main reasons to decant a wine after opening. First, if your wine falls a little flat on the bouquet and it tastes like something is missing, it may still develop a fuller body with oxygenation. Some connoisseurs will say that it will get all the air it needs in the glass. However, it never hurts to decant a wine, even white wines, before serving. Another reason to decant is sediment. Red wines, older than five years are especially prone to sediment build up, which happens when the naturally occurring tannin bonds with the wine’s pigment. Sediment can cloud your wine and add undesirable bitter notes to the bouquet. Sediment becomes more pronounced in older and heavier red wines. It may not always be visible when inspecting an unopened bottle.
Wines are oftentimes decanted ahead of time to allow them to open their full body. It is worth noting, though, that this is not particularly advisable for fragile wines that may fade too quickly or are prone to oxidization. These sensitive wines should not be decanted more than 30 minutes before drinking or should just be poured straight from the bottle.
At our St Helena vineyard, we begin the decanting process 24 hours ahead of time by standing the bottle upright. This gives any sediment plenty of time to accumulate at the bottom. Also using a short candle or another light source to backlight the pour will make it much easier to see any sediment. Pour the wine steadily, not too quickly, until you reach the last few ounces. As soon as you notice flakes of sediment in the stream, stop pouring and discard the remainder. Be sure to pour with a sure hand and avoid agitating the wine or it may become cloudy. Decanting wine is a highly recommended practice. If you are looking for new wines to add to your collection, visit Sherwin Family Vineyards today. Call us to schedule an appointment at (707) 963-1154.
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