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.
It is Harvest time in Spring Mountain District AVA! Harvest typically runs from early August thru October, depending on the varietal and weather. Nearing harvest time, winemakers taste and test grapes to determine when the vineyard is ready to pick. Veraison is an exciting time for the whole team at Sherwin Family Vineyards. Berries develop quickly and the key to excellent winemaking is to pick the berries at the optimal time; ensuring acidity, sweetness and flavor of the wine.
Picking and Sorting
Our team gets to work as soon as it is determined that the berries are ready to pick. Each of our varietals has different qualities that need to be met before picking. While some wineries machine harvest and sort their grapes, we hand pick and sort ours to ensure top quality.
Crushing and Pressing
Moving quickly to avoid contamination and early fermentation, the grapes are now ready to crush and press. Pressing is referred to the process of mechanically pressing red grapes into the must that contains skins, seeds and stems that is further used to give red wine the tannin, flavor and color it needs. Crush is referred to the process of crushing white grapes quickly and separating the skins, seeds and stems before color and tannin are affected.
The fermentation process comes next, giving winemakers just enough of a break beforehand to process other incoming grapes. While grapes contain wild yeasts naturally and begin fermenting on their own, winemakers intervene with their choice of commercial cultured Saccharomyces Cerevisiae yeast. Each strain of yeast gives off different by products, allowing wines to showcase their best traits and downplay their worst. White wines and sweet wines take about 10 days to two weeks to complete fermentation and are occasionally manually stopped from completing the fermentation process to get the desired sweetness. Red wines can take up to a month to complete this process.
Once fermentation is completed, the process of clarifying and racking begins. Different machines can be used in order to get different degrees of clarification. Dead yeast, proteins, stems, tannins and impurities are filtered out of the wine. You will notice some wines, mostly reds, tend to have tartaric acids crystals or a residue on the cork and at the bottom of the bottle. No need to fear, this is naturally occurring and can help wines age and maintain quality. The wine is now racked into barrels or tanks to further age.
Harvest in Spring Mountain District AVA is the most important (and busiest) time of year for winemakers and it determines the quality of your wine. Timing, speed and accuracy are key roles to any successful harvest. In addition to the many fall events happening near us, fall is an excellent time to visit us for a tasting.
On your next day trip to a spring mountain winery, be sure to extend your stay and check out these other options below. The suggestions provided here are only a fraction of what you can find to do and experience while you are in Napa Valley.
Dining in Napa Valley
In addition to being famous for its wines, Napa Valley is also home to an assortment of excellent dining options. The options we have highlighted here are among the best dining establishments in the valley.
- Breakfast - Excellent breakfast options are available at both ends of the valley. Yountville's Bouchon Bakery and Restaurant is noted for its excellent breakfast pastries and coffee. The restaurant is right next door to the bakery is a great brunch option. Another brunch option is the Acacia House in Saint Helena, which features breakfast daily.
- Lunch - Roughly midway between Napa and Calistoga, you'll find Oakville Grocery. They serve deli sandwiches among other fare. Sunshine Foods Market in Saint Helena is another option for a quick bite to eat.
- Dinner - For an amazing dinner experience, reserve a table at Press Restaurant, Brasswood or The Charter Oak. Press is a modern steakhouse featuring locally sourced ingredients. Brasswood serves farm to table comfort food. The Charter Oak offers a family-style dining experience to be enjoyed.
- Dessert - If you are looking for a place to satisfy your sweet tooth in Napa Valley, Woodhouse Chocolates and Dean and Deluca are your best choices.
Fine Arts and Entertainment
Fall is a great time to take a day trip to wine country. In addition to the many harvest celebrations, you can learn how to make greek yogurt, attend a fundraising dinner for Camp Silverado, and learn how to taste and evaluate wine! The St. Helena event calendar has information on any of these events and more!
Calistoga’s Petrified Forest is a treasure trove of ancient redwoods which were transformed by a volcano over 3 million years ago. South of Napa, San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge is home to an amazing array of plants and animals and features activities such as canoeing, hiking, fishing, and more.
Views from the Sky
Wine Tasting and Tours
There are wineries scattered throughout Napa Valley, providing ample opportunity for wine tours. Squire Livery Tours offers small tours where you can select the wineries or let them guide you to some hidden gems. Napa Valley Wine Train has tours available all summer long, including an exclusive July 4th excursion. For a party atmosphere, try the Fiesta Italiana at V. Sattui Winery, where wine, food, music, and dancing come together in a memorable experience.
Spend a Day on Spring Mountain
Be sure to schedule a tour of Sherwin Family Vineyards and other Spring Mountain AVA wineries while you are here. Fall is a perfect time to get out and explore Spring Mountain.
Spring Mountain day trips are for everyone. Whether you are looking for a fine culinary experience, attending one of the numerous events in St. Helena, or simply looking for a day of fun and sun, there is an exciting day’s adventure waiting on your arrival.
Spring Mountain is for Food Lovers
- Breakfast at Gillwood’s Cafe is a good way to start your day. Eggs are available any way you like them, but there are a plethora of breakfast options, including pancakes and waffles, oatmeal, and fruit plates.
- For the best meal on the go, stop by Gott’s Roadside for lunch. A St. Helena original, Gott’s has built a reputation for the best lunch using the freshest products, combined with a love for quality beers and wines.
- Fine dining at Gatehouse Restaurant is an excellent way to cap off a day trip to Spring Mountain. Dishes are prepared with regionally grown ingredients as well as those grown at the CIA farm itself.
- Satisfy your sweet tooth anytime at Woodhouse Chocolate. Enjoy handmade, European-style chocolates and confections prepared in an 1890’s stone and brick building. Exquisitely crafted chocolate and caramel creations in this style are a rare treat to find.
Attend Exciting Spring Mountain Events
- Meet the Farmers at St. Helena Farmers Market. Spring Mountain AVA is home to farms of all types, and seasonal produce is available every Friday from May to October.
- Harvest is a fun and exciting time to visit. Be sure to check the St. Helena event calendar and discover harvest parties, dinners and more!
Get Back to Nature
- California is known for their quality state parks, and the Boothe-Napa Valley State Park near Spring Mountain is no exception. There are nearly a dozen miles of hiking trails available, each lined with ferns and other flora associated with the Napa Valley. An early hike is an invigorating way to start your day, and there’s a pool available to cool off after the hike is complete.
Take a Leisurely Bike and Wine Tour
- The Calistoga Bike Shop offers cycling tours designed for group sizes ranging from couples to teams. Enjoy a relaxed ride on mostly flat surfaces as you visit local wineries. This day-long excursion is exciting on many levels, and a picnic lunch at one of the wineries is on the itinerary.
Spend a day at Sherwin Family Vineyards
There is a lot to take in when you visit our vineyard and winery. The summer months tend to be a little more relaxed, allowing time to enjoy the view, and sample some of our favorite vintages. We would love to meet you and offer some of our local hospitality, so make sure that Sherwin Family Vineyards is part of your day of wine tasting on Spring Mountain.
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.
Outdoor Activities Near Spring Mountain, 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.
Romantic Adventures Near Spring Mountain, St. Helena
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.
Plan a Visit to Sherwin Family Vineyards on Spring Mountain in St. Helena
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.
A Day of Wine Tasting on Spring Mountain Road in St. Helena
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.
While You Are in St. Helena
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!
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