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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
>> CLICK HERE to view and bid on our E-Lot # 503!
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.
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.
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.
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!
The Reds of Spring Mountain AVA
Red wine when taken in moderation can be healthy and useful for your heart. The antioxidants and alcohol present in red wine may help prevent coronary artery disease. While, the relationship is not well understood we know that antioxidants may cause an increase in our 'good' cholesterol which plays a huge role in protecting against cholesterol buildup.
Fortunately, there are many varietals of red to choose from in Spring Mountain. With Valentine's day coming up consider visiting Spring Mountain and experience one of the many reds in our district. Before you head, be sure to check on availability as many vineyards on Spring Mountain require reservations and if you plan to make a whole day of it, consider ordering take out from Dean and Delucca.
Spring Mountain Red Wines You Need to Try
Pride Mountain Vineyards – Syrah. Pride Mountain Vineyards graces the summit of Spring Mountain. The Syrah is considered an insider favorite that is lush with a flavor profile that includes blackberry coulis, cardamom and bacon fat.
Schweiger Vineyards - Merlot. Schweiger Vineyards is the family-owned winery notable for its red wines. Their merlot is intense and brings forth layers of complex flavors on the palate.
Barnett Vineyards – Spring Mountain District Merlot. Barnett is our neighbor down the road who focuses on Merlot and Cabernet Franc. In addition, they produce small amounts of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. Their Merlot Spring Mountain District is a rich purple with hints of blueberries and chocolate.
Keenan Winery – Mernet. The Mernet is Keenan’s proprietary blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes. A highly awarded wine, their 2015 was rated 93+, this blend is robust, balanced and full-bodied.
Vineyard 7&8 – Estate Chardonnay. Perched 2,020 feet above the Napa Valley floor, Vineyard 7&8 produces Estate Chardonnay and Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. The most recent, the 2016 Estate Chardonnay is bright with aromatic notes of fruit and crème brûlée.
Before you head back down Spring Mountain, visit us and taste our Sherwin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and our Cellar Scraps. Our Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is lush and dark presenting a beautiful 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!
Winter Wine Pairings
Winter in Spring Mountain usually means high rainfall at levels that may reach 25-95 inches (about 240cm). For perspective, January 2017 was a mild winter which caused bud break earlier than expected. In 2018, cold temperatures were sustained, and the bud break came as normal, in March. For 2019, more cold weather is expected, promising a normal bud break and bountiful harvest.
Winter is synonymous with comfort and what could be more comforting than pairing a lovely glass of wine with your next meal? Here are our favorite wine and food pairings.
Augment any meat dish with a splash or two of Cabernet Sauvignon. Dishes such as braised short ribs, meatballs, duck and even a salad! A spicy green based salad, such as arugula, match well with a bold Cabernet Sauvignon.
Pair Chardonnays with fatty fish such as salmon or rich creamy sauces.
Rosés represent neutral drinking territory when paired with cheese. They have the acidity of whites and fruit flavors of red.
With reds, we recommend going with the predominant varietal in the mix. For instance, if your red blend is 49% Cabernet Sauvignon then pour yourself a glass with your next burger. If your blend is mostly Pinot Noir, then you might enjoy it most with a fig and truffle pizza. Mostly Malbec? Warm up your barbecue sauce, fire up your grill and enjoy it with your next barbecue.
Besides pairing your wine with your favorite winter meal, winter is also a great time to visit Spring Mountain District AVA. Winter is usually a little bit slower, relaxed and less crowded. Schedule your visit to Sherwin Family Vineyards and taste our award-winning wines to pair with your next winter dish.
The holiday season is upon us, and as wine lovers we're looking forward to celebrating with family and friends. This year, we’ve decided to put together a list of fun and unique gifts for the wine aficionado in your life. From individual bottles and wine gift baskets to accessories, games and experiences, any one of these items will make you look like a gift-giving guru.
1. Aervana Wine Aerator
The Aervana Wine Aerator is the perfect way to allow your loved ones to get the most out of each bottle of wine they open. Aervana makes aerating simple, the way it should be, requiring that the user do no more than push a button before enjoying fresh, well-aerated wine. In comparison to other aerators, the Aervana provides a higher level of oxidation, and does so at a quicker rate while keeping sediment at the bottom of the bottle as an added bonus.
2. Wine Infused Coffee
Wine infused coffee from Cooper’s Cask serves as a delicious after meal pick me up, or morning kick. What better way to curb your separation anxiety from wine, than to think of it, every time you take a sip of coffee.
3. Wine Games
If you are a fan of board/trivia games, then try ChardonnayGo, Winewars or Winerd. If you prefer to be outside, give a scavenger hunt gift and take your giftee(s) up to Napa. From downtown Napa you can complete a set of clues and learn more about the city from scavengerhunt.com.
4. Sherwin Family’s Flag Bottle Gift Pack
Our flag bottle gift pack comes with two etched Reidel glasses and is sure to impress the wine lover in your life.
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.
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