History of Spring Mountain Wineries, St. Helena

History of Spring Mountain Wineries, St. Helena

Named for a group of mountains and their numerous springs, Spring Mountain lies between Napa and Sonoma Valleys. The region is dotted with picturesque lines of grapes growing on painstakingly terraced slopes, and Spring Mountain is home to dozens of working vineyards. Sherwin Family Vineyards, a Spring Mountain winery, is proud to be among that number and works hard to ensure that your visit will be a memorable experience.

A Brief History of Spring Mountain

A member of the Mayacamas Mountains, Spring Mountain is nestled above St. Helena. First planted in 1874, Spring Mountain gained recognition as an American Viticulture Area, or AVA, in 1993. Since then, Spring Mountain wineries have built a respectable reputation as a producer of fine vintages. When Miravalle was built a few years later, the stage was set.

Humble Beginnings

La Perla Vineyard was the first of a new wave of wine lovers and their vineyards in 1874. Founded by Charles Lemme, that modest 25-acre enterprise led to the Beringers expanding their operation into Spring Mountain a short time later. Once the area became an AVA in 1993, other wineries such as Sherwin Family Vineyards in 1996, set up operations in this idyllic region.

Spring Mountain News

Spring Mountain has been drawing prominent attention for more than a century. Eyebrows were raised when Tiburcio Parrott, a San Francisco banker built a Victorian-style home in the area and established Miravalle. The idea of growing world-class grapes in such rocky, hilly terrain was preposterous in 1893, but Miravalle’s gold medal win at the World’s Fair caused other future vintners to give Spring Mountain serious consideration.

Spring Mountain Grapes

Spring Mountain AVA is comprised of 8,600 acres, with over 1,000 acres already in cultivation. The terraced rows add a feeling of purpose with their precise organization along the region’s hillsides. The attitudes are more laid back and the unique climate is ideal for wine grapes to go through the ripening process, known as veraison. Unlike the sprawling old-world vineyards, Spring Mountain is home to many smaller vineyards tucked among the hillside’s forests and mystique.

All these years later, and Spring Mountain is still known for its distinctive premium wines, each the result of wine-lovers turned investors who were willing to put the time and work into making what has become some of the finest wines out of Napa Valley. From exquisite wines to extraordinary vintners, Spring Mountain is a unique experience.

St. Helena and Spring Mountain have everything you need for a weekend break, vacation escape, or just a getaway for mom and dad. Visit us and you’ll taste some of the best wines Sherwin Family Vineyards has to offer while experiencing the best of our corner of the Napa Valley.

Sherwin Family Vineyards Explains Why, When and How to Decant Wine

Sherwin Family Vineyards Explains Why, When and How to Decant Wine

At our Spring Mountain winery, Sherwin Family Vineyards, we see decanting as an important step of the serving process. Contrary to popular belief, serving fine wine is a little more complicated than simply opening a bottle and pouring it. Decanting wine brings out the full flavor of the wine and allows any sediments to settle so that they are not part of the pour.

Why is Decanting Important?

Decanting wine before serving is always a good idea. Even white wines benefit from the process, which typically produces a richer flavor. There are a couple of excellent reasons why we decant wines at Sherwin Family Vineyards, a Spring Mountain Winery:

  • Oxygenation - Giving air molecules a chance to mix with the wine allows it to develop a bouquet and fuller body. If you have ever opened a bottle of wine and it seemed a little flat or less flavorful than expected, you have experienced one of the primary reasons for decanting.
  • Sediment - Red wines are prone to sediment buildup as they age. This is the result of natural tannin bonding to the pigment, and becomes more pronounced in wines older than 5 years but may still be present in younger, heavier red wines. Because of the tinting in wine bottles, inspecting the bottle before opening may not reveal sediments in the bottle.

How to Decant Wine

On our St. Helena estate, the decanting process begins when a wine is selected for serving. Bottles are placed upright and allowed to stand for 24 hours so that any sediments in the bottle will settle out of the wine. It is important to change the position of the bottle slowly to avoid mixing the sediments with the wine.

After the wine has had an opportunity to settle, you are ready for decanting. Open the bottle in a smooth motion. Using a flashlight or candle as a backlight, slowly pour the wine into your decanter. As you near the bottom of the bottle, you will notice a few dark pieces of sediment in the flow. Stop pouring and discard the remaining fluid in the bottle.

How Long Should Wine Be Decanted?

The time between decanting and serving depends on the wine being served. Heavy wines profit more from longer decanting periods, but lighter wines are more fragile. Because extended decanting may cause the flavor of these light wines to fade, the process should begin no more than 30 minutes before serving or serve directly from the bottle. Longer periods are more appropriate for dark wines, especially older vintages.

When pouring from the bottle, keep a firm, steady hand. Vibrations or sudden movement will cause the sediments to shift and may affect the flavor of the wine. We decant many of the wines we serve at Sherwin Family Vineyards, and we believe you will discover that decanting works well for you as well.

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 today.

Introducing Sherwin Family Vineyards’ Cellar Scraps

Introducing Sherwin Family Vineyards’ Cellar Scraps

One of the most popular wines at Sherwin Family Vineyards, a Spring Mountain winery, is our special blend called Cellar Scraps. With the harvest season in full swing, a new vinting of Cellar Scraps is just around the corner so we thought a little information about the wine and how it came to be would make an interesting topic.

Cellar Scraps at a Glance

Most wines are made from a single vinting, but not Cellar Scraps. It is a multi-vintage blend consisting of multiple varietals. The blend changes each year and is determined by the varietal leftovers after our other red wine production has finished. The blend is primarily the current year’s Cabernet Sauvignon, but other end cuts are mixed in as well, including:

  • Cabernet Franc
  • Merlot
  • Petite Sirah
  • Syrah

The exact blend changes yearly and typically includes a blending of two previous vintages of Cellar Scraps to maintain a consistent final product and create a truly multi-vintage wine.

The Origin of Cellar Scraps

Early on, we noticed that our cabernet blend did not always blend equally. This resulted in a few barrels being left over after each blend. After a couple of years, we noticed that these leftover barrels were beginning to accumulate, taking up valuable space in the back of the cellar. The solution was to blend these excess barrels together, creating a brand new blend that could be served in our estate tasting room. Our visitors loved the wine and began requesting bottles of this unique blend to take home. That is how blends of some of the best wines available from Sherwin Family Vineyards became one of our bestselling products.

End Cuts of Premium Wines

Cellar Scraps is far from being the dregs of the barrel. Instead, it is blended from many of Sherwin Family Vineyards’ most sophisticated wines. As each varietal is blended, the end cuts-- the leftover barrels after blending-- are carefully blended together with the Cellar Scraps from previous vintages. So it may be our cellar scraps, but our scraps are still premium quality wine.

“Call It What It Is”

We had a new product, and it was popular with our visitors, but we didn’t have a name for it. One night the Sherwin’s had dinner and wine with some close friends and we began brainstorming a name for this new wine. At some point, Steve Sherwin suggested that “We may as well call it what it is!” And the name Cellar Scraps was born. Not really scraps of wines, but the final barrels of some of our best blended into one. A prime mix of premium wines, if you will.

Today, we are offering our 13th vinting of Cellar Scraps, and we look forward to many more to come. We encourage you to stop by our, Spring Mountain winery, Sherwin Family Vineyards, for a tour of the estate and wine tasting in our private tasting room. You can get a first-hand feel for the quality and taste of Cellar Scraps, and we think you will agree that it is some of the best wine you have had the pleasure of trying. Better yet, take a bottle home and share some Cellar Scraps with your wine-loving friends.

Sign up for our Cellar Scrappers Club, visit us for a tasting and attend some of the many fall events happening during harvest on Spring Mountain.

California Wine Month in Spring Mountain – September

California Wine Month in Spring Mountain – September

By September, veraison is in full swing at Sherwin Family Vineyards. This is a critical time for the vintners and an exciting time for visitors. This month we would like to give you some insight into veraison, and what makes this a special time of year for winemakers.

Veraison is Special for Visitors

The grapes are literally changing colors on the vines at this time of year, and even the white grapes are becoming more translucent as they ripen. Visitors to Sherwin Family Vineyards during veraison will enjoy an enlightening experience of actually seeing the grapes of their favorite wines ripening to perfection. Since grapes ripen at slightly different speeds, you can observe the changes-- from subtle to obvious-- taking place on a single vine. You can even watch the grapes being sorted for quality and processing.

Hand Harvest Begins

During September and October, the grapes ripen and must be harvested by hand to be certain that only the grapes which meet exacting standards are harvested. They ripen quickly and must be harvested at just the right time, so the vineyards of Spring Mountain are bustling with workers examining the vines and picking only those at the peak of their ripeness. Ripening occurs at a different pace based on the varietal being grown, and the harvest will progress from one type of grape to another throughout the season.

Winemaking Begins

After grapes have been picked and sorted they are quickly moved into processing. Crushing and pressing must take place quickly to avoid spoilage, over-ripening, and even early natural fermentation. Red grapes are pressed and some of the skins and seeds from the process are used to enhance coloration and add other qualities. White grapes are crushed and the skins and seeds removed. Just as each vintner has a preferred time to pick, they also have their own unique pressing and crushing processes in order to achieve their own unique wines.

Fermentation Offers a Break

Fermentation takes place largely without interference. In fact, a vinting can be spoiled by too much interference from the vintners. Instead, the fermentation period is a time of recuperating from the hectic pace of harvest. Winemakers and visitors are given a chance to socialize a little more, celebrating the coming end to another successful season. White wines tend to reach a peak in fermentation in as little as 10 days or so, and that means a bit of early tasting is just around the corner when fermentation begins. Red wines take a little longer, so the celebration of veraison stretches out for most of the autumn months as one wine and then another reaches fruition.

Closing the Season

By the end of October, the leaves have turned and the nights have begun to chill. The hectic days of September are past and vintners are eager to entertain guests and show off their best wines. Veraison may be a busy time in Spring Mountain, but the benefits which follow are worth the effort.

Visit us for a tasting and attend some of the many fall events happening during harvest on Spring Mountain.

Spring Mountain Summer Wine Guide – August

Spring Mountain Summer Wine Guide – August

As Summer drifts toward the Harvest months, Spring Mountain enters a bustling time of activity. This is the perfect time of year to visit Sherwin Family Vineyards, meeting the vintners and experiencing our fine wines while watching harvest take place. For those who are new to our little corner of Napa Valley, a short guide to our wines of summer can be an enlightening experience.

2015 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

The flagship wine of Sherwin Family Vineyards, our Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is produced entirely from fruit grown on the Sherwin Family estate. The 2015 vintage is one of our most notable harvests, and this wine is excellent for today or cellaring for special occasions. Very limited production as 2015 was a low yielding year.

2015 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Hand-selected from the cream of the crop Cabernet Sauvignon barrels, our 2015 Reserve Cabernet is barrel aged for 30 months on 100% new French oak to integrate the full bodied tannin and bring out the full flavor profiles that our mountain fruit has to offer. Production of this fine wine is limited, so order yours while supplies last. Only 150 cases produced.

Cellar Scraps #13

Created from 2015 and 2016 vintings of several wines, this 70% Cabernet Sauvignon includes a hint of Petite Syrah, Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Perfect for formal gatherings and informal events as well, we are sure your family and friends will love the balanced flavor and distinctive aroma.

2018 Carneros Chardonnay

Made with fruit from a Carneros vineyard originally planted in 1965, this fine wine has roots that trace back to Chardonnay clones grown at Wente vineyards. The fruit driven flavor profile is balanced with just a hint of the oak barrels it is stored in.

2018 Rosé of Cabernet

A great summer wine for outdoor gatherings and quiet evenings alike, our 2018 vintning carries a clean flavor that brings out the flavor of foods it is paired with. Popular at local venues, a magnum of this excellent wine is the perfect addition to any connoisseur's wine cellar.

2018 Sauvignon Blanc

One of Sherwin Family Vineyard’s popular white wines, Sauvignon Blanc goes well with fruits and cheeses, making it an excellent wine to serve at wine tastings or romantic dinners. Be sure to ask about our Sauvignon Blanc while visiting the estate.

We are thrilled to make our estate part of your visit to St. Helena, but veraison is a crucial time and the vineyards keep us busy from August through October. Sherwin Family Vineyards is a working estate, and visitors are encouraged to make reservations before visiting so that you will receive the attention you deserve. To allow you to fully enjoy the experience, we suggest arranging for transportation ahead of your visit, such as our area’s unique My Napa Valley Driver.

 

Spring Mountain Summer Wine Guide – July

Spring Mountain Summer Wine Guide – July

July sees summer get underway on Spring Mountain. Small family wineries like Sherwin Family Vineyards are bustling with activity as Independence Day approaches. This may be one of the best times of year to schedule your Spring Mountain wine tasting tour, and St. Helena provides plenty of lodging and dining. There is a lot to see and do in the area, so plan for a minimum of 2 or 3 days to get the full experience.

Plan Ahead

Summer wine tasting excursions to Spring Mountain are perfect weekend getaway ideas but should be booked in advance. You should also make reservations for any events you plan to attend. Estates such as Sherwin Family Vineyards at the top of Spring Mountain offer magnificent views and opportunities for tasting the area’s finest wines, but they are small wineries and need to schedule tours in order to provide the best experience.

Dress for the Part

It is a good idea to wear comfortable clothing and good walking shoes because winery tours will include a fair amount of walking around. A typical tour includes the entire experience from the vines to bottling. Days are warm but visitors should pack warmer attire for the evenings. Keep an eye on weather forecasts and dress accordingly, both for temperature and for rain.

Attend an Event

Some wineries will be holding special events all summer long, like the Festa Italiana, an event taking place July 27 in St. Helena. The Wine Train Independence Day tour offers fun, food, wine, and fireworks as your ride this vintage Napa Valley train.

Visit the CIA

The Culinary Institute of America has a campus in St. Helena where visitors can learn the intricacies of fine food, great wine, and more. The Greystone facility is listed on the list of National Historic Places, and you’ll find a wide variety of eating and food-related shopping options.

Get a Safe Ride

Wine tasting is an exciting way to spend a day or two, but we encourage you to please be responsible. If you are going to be drinking, the best thing to do is schedule a ride with one of the area's local services, Uber, Lyft, etc. The road down the mountain can be treacherous and we want our visitors to carry home happy memories.

St. Helena and Spring Mountain have everything you need for a weekend break, vacation escape, or just a getaway for mom and dad. Visit us and you’ll taste some of the best wines Sherwin Family Vineyards has to offer while experiencing the best of our corner of the Napa Valley.

 

Spring Mountain Summer Wine Guide – June

Spring Mountain Summer Wine Guide – June

Late spring and early summer are great months for wine tasting on Spring Mountain. Wineries are in full swing, there’s a lull in major events, and you can get up close and personal with local wineries like Sherwin Family Vineyards.

Winery Tours and Tastings

Book reservations ahead of time for the period you will be in Spring Mountain and the Napa area. Many of the area’s best vineyards are family operated and in order to provide you with the best visitor experience, it needs to be scheduled. Similarly, small groups are able to enjoy tours and tastings in a more relaxed atmosphere and there is no doubt that touring our winery is an experience which should be savored, just like the merlot and cabernet sauvignon we produce.

The Wine Train

Another way to experience high quality Napa Valley wines is to take a ride on the Napa Valley Wine Train. Visitors enjoy magnificent vistas, beautiful vineyards, fine dining, and some of the best wines available. The Wine Train is a wine lover’s tour through California’s premiere wine country, and a popular attraction for area visitors.

Saturday Night Beats

After your wine tour, enjoy lively top 40 music as the DJ spins your favorite tunes on request. Sip drinks with your friends and move your feet on the dance floor. Saturday nights in June beginning at 9:30pm at the NapaSport Steakhouse and Sports Lounge.

Firework Show

Head over to St. Helena’s Crane Park after your wine tasting on July 4th to enjoy the 5th Annual Fireworks Show. This family friendly event starts with live music from local musicians and the firework spectacular begins at 9:30pm. There will be food vendors on hand and a beer & wine garden.

Sherwin Family Vineyards hopes you will visit us enjoy a tour of our location and the surrounding region. The Spring Mountain portion of Napa Valley has a lot to offer, and we tend to be less congested than the southern end of the valley at this time of year. St. Helena offers a wealth of fine dining, entertainment for couples or families, and of course daily opportunities to taste some of our area’s best wines.

 

Auction Napa Valley 2019

Auction Napa Valley 2019

We truly appreciate the continued support from our friends and customers that help us support our community. We have been participating in Auction Napa Valley since 1998 and are excited to see what our supporters can do to help us raise funds in 2019. The Napa Valley Vintners distributes proceeds from Auction Napa annually to a core group of 25 local nonprofits and strategic initiatives that emphasize prevention and early intervention in the areas of community health and children’s education.

    >> CLICK HERE to view and bid on our E-Lot # 503!
Six couples will join Steve and Linda Sherwin at their mountaintop estate to enjoy a VIP tour and tasting of Sherwin Family Vineyards' current releases. Then you will adjourn to the patio for a friendly bocce match under the pines, followed by an al-fresco lobster feast overlooking the estate vineyards and picturesque lake below.

As a memento of your experience, you will take home a collection of 2016 commemorative etched American flag bottles - one six-liter, one three-liter, one magnum gift pack with four etched Riedel wine glasses, and one 750 ml gift pack with two etched Riedel wine glasses.

This will be a patriotic evening never to be forgotten.
Spring Mountain Summer Wine Kick-off Guide

Spring Mountain Summer Wine Kick-off Guide

May is the month Spring Mountain and the rest of Napa Valley come alive. Winter is past, the vineyards have sprouted, and a sense of celebration is blooming all over the area. The hillsides are full of activity, and local vineyards will be releasing new vintages for your appreciation.

Attend a Wine Tasting Event

Sherwin Family Vineyards offers tours and tastings for small groups. They produce an assortment of fine wines and appointments by reservation only. If you want to get the feel of a family vineyard in operation, this stop is a must-see event. It may be best to schedule this as a day-trip from your St. Helena base of exploration.

Sip and Swirl Saturdays

Saturday, May 25 you can attend the Sip and Swirl Event at the St. Helena Chamber of Commerce. Wine tasting and mingling with the area movers and shakers are both excellent reasons to attend this annual community event. Different local wineries are featured each Saturday, so be prepared to sample some of the best Spring Mountain has to offer.

Bottlerock Festival

The Bottlerock Festival is a regional music festival known for large crowds and several days of music and other entertainments. In addition to the scheduled performances, attendees can look forward to after shows, a nightly silent disco, spa, and more. Tickets can be purchased online using Apple Pay or your credit card.

Picasso in Napa Valley

From April through July, the Napa Valley Museum in Yountville is featuring an exhibit which looks at modern printmaking through examinations of Pablo Picasso’s work. Picasso & The Masters of 20th Century Printmaking is a wonderful addition to a day of wine tasting at local vineyards, and provides something to interest everyone.

See Clara Blijl

May 24th will see the world-class humor of Clara Blijl. She’s built a reputation as a festival and event performer, and her European twang is not to be missed. Online ticket reservations are preferred, and the doors to an evening of laughter opens at 6:30 at The Laugh Cellar.

There will be festival and activities for the rest of the year, celebrating the season of wine all the way up until the harvest. Plan to visit for a few days to get a great impression of everything Napa Valley has to offer. Don’t miss your opportunity for some fine wine celebration at Sherwin Family Vineyards, and explore all of Spring Mountain.

 

A Beginner’s Guide to Wine Tasting on Spring Mountain

A Beginner’s Guide to Wine Tasting on Spring Mountain

So you have decided to go on a wine tasting adventure on Spring Mountain? Well, this is the perfect moment to visit St.Helena because the wineries are preparing their vineyards for the growing season, and the fruits are blossoming too. This simple guide will help you understand the types of tastings, establish a tasting fee budget and the wineries and vineyards to visit on Spring Mountain.

Make Wine Tasting Reservations

Many wineries within the Spring Mountain region are smaller family-owned wineries and require reservations. Remember to make reservations well in advance based on the what types of wineries you would like to visit. For example, if you want to taste big reds then select two to three wineries to visit that produce the varietal you’d like to sample.

Determine Your Wine Tasting Fee Budget

One of the things to consider when making reservations is your tasting fee budget. Be sure to ask if the tasting fee is deducted from any wine purchased while on your visit. Tasting fees can range from $30+ per person, and may also depend on the type of tasting experience you prefer. For example, some wineries have different levels of tasting experiences. To taste library or reserve wines or for a private exclusive experience, expect to pay a higher fee.

Wear Comfortable Shoes for Wine Tasting

When visiting local wineries, you’ll often have a chance to explore the grounds and tour the estates. You’ll want to wear comfortable shoes and clothing. Layers also help depending on the season you choose to visit.

Bring Extra Water When Wine Tasting

Be sure to have extra bottles of water in your car or in the car service.

Clear Out Your Trunk When You Go Wine Tasting

You’ll want the extra room in case you decided to come home with a case or two of your soon-to-be favorite wine.

Pack a Lunch or Have One Delivered

If you schedule a wine tasting during the lunch hour, be sure to pack a lunch or have one delivered. Check with the winery to ensure there is a space for you to relax and enjoy your meal while tasting their wines.

Designate a Driver or Hire a Car Service

The last step is deciding on a driver who will drive you to the wineries on Spring Mountain Road. You can either have a designated driver or hire a local car service.

Visit us on Spring Mountain and taste our Sherwin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and our Cellar Scraps. Our Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is full bodied with a beautiful bouquet; an excellent example of what Spring Mountain reds have to offer. Our Cellar Scraps is a fun blend of our Cabernets across different vintages, which makes for a unique experience every year. We look forward to seeing you!

 

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