The Spring Mountain District AVA is located at a low point in the Mayacamas Mountains on the western side of the Napa Valley in California. The Spring Mountain after which it was named forms part of the Mayacamas Mountains which divide Napa from Sonoma Valley. It was awarded AVA status in 1993.
ŠNapa Valley Vintners
The mesoclimate here is similar to that in the neighboring Diamond Mountain District immediately to the north, and benefits from the cooling effects of elevation. Spring Mountain is significantly higher (approximately 820ft/250m so) above sea level than Diamond Mountain. This lifts the vineyards out of the stifling air which collects on the valley floor on still summer afternoons. However, this means the vines do not benefit from the cool, damp air and fog which roll up the valley from San Pablo Bay in the morning and early evening.
Located just south of Calistoga and west of St Helena, the Spring Mountain District AVA occupies 8600 acres (3480ha) of rolling vineyard, scrubland and forest on the western side of Napa Valley. Most Spring Mountain vineyards are located 400–600m above sea level, scattered among the various peaks and troughs created by the low mountain topography. The sun-baked, rocky, infertile slopes provide the perfect level of stress for the vines, forcing them to dig deep, strong root systems. When well managed, this results in small yields of intensely flavored grapes with a good balance of sugars and acidity.
The wineries in this small region produce mostly red wines, with Cabernet Sauvignon as the mainstay. Spring Mountain District wines often include softer tannins and big fruit flavors. This is largely due to marine breezes from the Pacific Ocean just 30 miles (48km) to the west cooling the land during the day, followed by warm nights. These help the red grapes to ripen fully while maintaining acidity and primary fruit characters. Reputable wines are also made from Merlot, Zinfandel and Chardonnay.
Before the variety fell from favor in the 1980s, Riesling was among the more commonly seen white-grape varieties here, but now just a few rows of the vines remain. The sight of Riesling vines on terraced hillsides was evocative of many vineyard areas in south-western Germany, even if those produced in Spring Mountain District were decidedly riper, richer and more phenolic.