Spring Mountain wine tours… intimate wineries hidden amongst striking landscapes. Just behind the town of St. Helena lies the Spring Mountain District, a distinctive winegrowing area on the western edge of Napa Valley. Its steep slopes form a dramatic physical boundary separating Napa from Sonoma, and offer refreshingly different experience to those who brave its winding back roads.

As its name suggests, Spring Mountain produces bona fide “mountain wines,” which are as gutsy and intense as the craggy slopes that produce them. The vines cling to steeply pitched, rugged terrain at elevations as high as 2,600 feet above sea level. Difficult growing conditions mean that yields are extremely low compared to vineyards on the valley floor. Farming here is a fierce labor of love, best suited to those willing to trade volume for intensity.

One of the smaller wine growing regions in Napa, the Spring Mountain District is comprised of 1,000 acres of planted vineyards, and only three dozen vineyards and wineries utilize the grapes grown here. Spring Mountain shares similarities with several of Napa’s other signature growing regions. The soils are both volcanic and sedimentary, with the cool weather helping the wines to develop and maintain good acidity and robust flavors. What separates Spring Mountain from surrounding areas is the unique mountain topography. Thin topsoil on the slopes forces vines to root deep into the rocky subsoils in search of water, and the same grape varieties planted with the same spacing and training produce dramatically different wines depending on the elevation, sun exposure, and slope of a particular vineyard.

Visiting Spring Mountain requires a little preparation, as there are few open-door tastings. Most of the area’s wine producers run small, family-owned operations with tastings by appointment only, but that shouldn’t deter you from trekking out to see them. Those who take the time to arrange a visit to Spring Mountain District will find it an extremely worthwhile and intimate experience. Tours and tasting are almost always held by the winemakers, owners or their family members, so visitors can learn about the wines firsthand, from the people who know them best. The unique perspective you gain on the winegrowing practices and techniques used to produce these remarkable, age-worthy wines is for many people a highlight of their Napa Valley visit.

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