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.
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.
You know you want to
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