Our Wines / The Vineyard

Haber Family Vineyards

The Vineyard

The Howell Mountain Estate Vineyard

Rising east of St. Helena, Howell Mountain is Napa Valley's first recognized sub-appellation. Renowned for Cabernet Sauvignon, its vineyards range from 1400 to 2200 feet in altitude. The rocky soils consist of red volcanic ash, key in defining the unique Howell Mountain wines. Days are a bit cooler than on the valley below, but because the vineyards sit above the fog that often blankets the valley floor, they enjoy long, mild growing days with slightly warmer nights. Our vineyard sits between 1650 and 1550 feet (top to bottom) on a West-facing slope with a view across the valley to both Spring and Diamond Mountains.

 

Growing Season 2017

The 2017 growing season started late and was quite cold through the spring. The ground has plenty of energy from the over 80 inches of water received ending our five year drought. The week of June 18th has brought a week of temperatures between 90 and 100 degrees. Early pictures of bloom and fruit set show beautiful large cluster formation with minimal shatter.

   
 

Harvest 2016

The 2016 growing season was completely different then the last twenty. Winter rains partially relieved the drought, then a hot spring brought rapid growth, followed by a cool summer. The early start got us ripe about a week later than 2015 and just days ahead of the late October rains that brought the season to an end. The young wines are dark and rich with lots of complexity and structure; a fine reward for the wild ride! Photos are before and after tucking with early, beautiful clusters.

   

Harvest 2015

With the dry, hot summer, harvest in Napa Valley came early in October.  We let the grapes hang a bit in hopes of allowing the fruit to ripen even more than it already has - the flavors are full and rounded due to early season shatter, allowing the clusters to ripen evenly.  The yields this year will be way down, so our wines will continue to be highly allocated for the coming vintage.

Harvest 2014

In 2014, we experienced a rather early harvest with excellent quality and a terrific depth of flavor.  The yield was exceptional with big, juicy grapes and many clusters on the vine.  The weather was good throughout the season, albeit light in rain, which we continue to experience. With the wine now resting comfortable in barrel, Winemaker Tim Milos is very optimistic about quality and richness for this vintage - we can't wait to release it!

Harvest 2013

The growing season for 2013 was dry, long and sunny, offering up high quaility with ripe fruit resulting from a long hang time. The yields were abundant - Mother Nature certainly made this year on for the record books!

Harvest 2012

"Harvest is drawing to a close, with beautifully sweet Cabernet Sauvignon fermenting on its skins in the cellar. The ferments are nearly black in color with the berries so ripe they almost look oily. The aromas of blackberry, raspberry and cherry fill the air, as the sweet dark juice is transformed into inky wine. After a few years of extreme weather, 2012 moved through the seasons at the balance point of the long term averages. The winter had adequate but not excessive rainfall and any real rains ended in April. The Spring was mild, with a bit of heat in May, but dropping back to near normal temperatures for June, July, August and September. The only real heat wave was in the first week of October, with three consecutive days above 95 degrees, yet even with the heat, the nights cooled and allowed the vines to recover with but minimal damage. The mild season let the grapes reach high sugar levels before the skins and seeds were ripe, and with the heat the fruit was over 25 brix on the first of October. We let the fruit hang another 3 weeks, picking out before the rains, having waited for the flavors, tannins and textures of the fruit develop fully. Truly a great year in Napa Valley!" - Tim Milos, Winemaker

 

In late 2005, we planted our first block of Cabernet Sauvignon, one acre split between clones 4 and 7, with Clone 4 on rootstock 101-14 and Clone 7 on rootstock 3309. In 2006, we planted our second acre block also to Clones 4 and 7. Finally, in 2007 we added a ½ acre of clone 15 Cabernet Sauvignon to balance Clones 4 and 7, adding complexity to the blend. Our vineyard is tightly-spaced, with 3 feet between vines and 5 feet between rows, which requires the vineyard to be maintained entirely by hand. The vines are "cordoned" trained, pruned back to two short canes per vine, and loosely vertical shoot positioned.

Mountainside farming is always challenging. High wind, spring and fall frosts, and hail are all occasional risks. Thin, low-nutrient soils, rapid drainage, and steep slopes all demand extra attention. The elements of sun, temperature and good (that is, bad!!!) soil provides the perfect environment and help give our wine the character, richness and depth for which the wines of Howell Mountain are known.

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