Life on the Mountain

The rugged hillside AVA of Spring Mountain perched on the west side of the Napa Valley was one of the first vineyard areas to be planted by the early settlers in the 1800s. Named for its many natural springs, it is endowed with forests and meadows of great natural beauty amid charming reminders of the historic past. Today it makes luscious and memorable wines of outstanding power, quality and elegance.

The mountain landscape presents numerous challenges for today’s viticulturist. Establishing vines in the lean soils, obtaining and distributing water in the dry growing season, and preventing erosion are constant concerns. Weather patterns, strongly influenced by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the San Francisco Bay to the south, tend to intensify the harshness of winter storms and moderate summer heat. Spring Mountain’s good vineyard parcels are naturally small and widely distributed, always far from the conveniences on the valley floor.

It is well known that grapevines that struggle at the edge of their habitable range for water, nutrients and sunlight develop fruit of more intense character and taste, and hence more memorable and long-lived wines. So this rugged mountain environment is in some sense ideal for creating great wine. It is the winemaker’s charge to maintain that fine degree of nurturing that results in vines being stressed but not overstressed, by assuring them of just enough necessities to bring forth the finest fruit.

Perhaps as a result of the hillside’s unique requirements and promise, the viticulturalists and winemakers here are an unusual group of individuals dedicated to tackling the challenges with strong ideals of integrity and faithfulness to the terroir. Spring Mountain properties require an attention to detail that eliminates the possibilities of mass production and corporate style winemaking. Many of our hands-on winemakers have been attracted here after successful careers in other fields, and a number of them might be characterized as stubborn individualists. They nevertheless agree on the potential of Spring Mountain wines, and are dedicated to making them some of Napa Valley’s finest.