Monday, January 04, 2010

Winetasting on Spring Mountain

Last month, I wrote about Charbay's Still on the Hill, an interesting winery on Spring Mountain. Since the wineries on Spring Mountain are about 15 minutes outside of St. Helena, you might want to make Spring Mountain your sole destination for your day of winetasting.

In addition to Charbay, give Terra Valentine a try. Here you can do a sit-down tasting that pairs current releases of Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, and/or Viognier with artisan cheeses. You'll also get to see the winery's production facilities as well as the building's unique architecture, and learn about its unusual history. Plan on spending between 75 and 90 minutes at the winery. The experience costs $30/person, which is waived when you buy some wine.


Also nearby is Schweiger Vineyards, a small, family-run producer of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, a Bordeaux-style blend, and Port. On a clear day, which I didn't have on my visit, you'll have a great view of the Valley. You can do an hour-long tour and tasting for $10/person. Since there's no food on Spring Mountain, bring some with you and have a picnic at Schweiger.

Robert Keenan Winery is also a small producer near the top of the hill. The friendly tasting room staff will walk you through their Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Merlot, and/or Cabernet Sauvignon. The last three are the winery's main focus. The current facility sits on the site of the Conradi Winery, which made wine from the late 19th century until the onset of Prohibition.  Robert Keenan is also a good spot for a picnic. There's no charge for tasting.

Lastly, lower down the hill is Spring Mountain Vineyard, a historic property that was featured in the old television show, "Falcon Crest." The winery offers three different tasting options. While I have yet to visit the winery, I am including it in this post on the recommendation of others and because of the property's rich history.

All of these wineries require an appointment to visit. To see a full listing of wineries on Spring Mountain, visit www.springmountaindistrict.com. If you would like to take a private tour of Spring Mountain, please contact Blue Heron Custom Tours and Travel at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or Rick@BlueHeronTours.com.

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