Best Wineries

Spottswoode Winery in St. Helena

By Published On: August 2nd, 2023

The Fine Wines of Spottswoode are the Product of Family Commitment and Love of the Land.

Located at the foot of the Mayacamas Mountains on the western edge of St. Helena, Spottswoode Estate began in 1882 when wine grapes were first planted on the property.

Spottswoode Vineyard with Mayacamas in the background.
Vineyard with Mayacamas in the background. Photo Courtesy: Spottswoode Winery.

Today, historic buildings and mature trees dating back to the 1880s can still be seen on the Estate. While the early grapevines have been replaced, the renovated vintage buildings and lush landscape speak of this Napa Valley Estate’s past.

Spottswoode Winery Victorian Farmhouse exterior.
Victorian Farmhouse. Photo Courtesy: Spottswoode Winery.

Visiting the Spottswoode Estate

Personal tours and tastings for small groups take guests through the vineyard and around the estate grounds and winery. Guests will learn about Spottswoode’s organic and biodynamic farming practices in addition to hearing about the winemaking and aging process.

Spottswoode Winery aerial view.
Experience the breathtaking beauty of the estate from above during fall season. Photo Courtesy: Spottswoode Winery.
Spottswoode Winery entrance exterior.
Enchanting entrance, embellished with vibrant fall colors. Photo Courtesy: Spottswoode Winery.

The visit finishes with a seated tasting of the current release Spottswoode wines. When weather permits, the tasting may be held outdoors. In addition to tasting the stunning Spottswoode wines, visitors enjoy the gardens and historic buildings that date to 1884-85.

Spottswoode Winery seated outdoor tasting in the garden.
Seated outdoor tasting in the garden. Photo Courtesy: Spottswoode Winery.

They include the Colonial Revival-style residence with the stone pillar entry and Spottswoode arch, the Victorian farmhouse that serves as an office and tasting room and the Kraft Cellar where Cabernet Sauvignon is barrel-aged.

Spottswoode Winery Kraft Cellar.
Kraft Cellar. Photo Courtesy: Spottswoode Winery.
Spottswoode Winery Kraft Cellar Barrel Room.
Kraft Cellar Barrel Room. Photo Courtesy: Spottswoode Winery.

The Wines of Spottswoode

The prized Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, offered since 1982, is described as “elegant, age-worthy, and impeccably balanced.” The 2020 release consists of 96.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot, and .5% Cabernet Franc. “This is an energetic and bold expression of violets, lavender, and cassis mixed with dark chocolate, cherry, plum, and graphite,” according to the Winemaker Notes.

Spottswoode Winery estate Cabernet Sauvignon.
Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Photo Courtesy: Spottswoode Winery.

The 2022 Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc is the product of grapes from ten vineyards in Napa County (58%) and Sonoma County (42%). The blend consists of 98% Sauvignon Blanc and 2% Semillon, and the wine has been described by the winemaker as “pretty and pure with aromas of citrus, white peach, and juicy pear.”

Spottswoode Winery Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc.
The 2022 Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc. Photo Courtesy: Spottswoode Winery.

Lyndenhurst Cabernet Sauvignon wines combine grapes from the Spottswoode Estate vineyard with those from other Napa Valley family-owned vineyards. The 2020 Lyndenhurst, aged 21 months in oak barrels, consists of 76.2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10.3% Cabernet Franc, 6.7% Merlot, 5.6% Malbec, and 1.2% Petit Verdot. According to the winemaker, the wine can be enjoyed upon release or cellared to enjoy in the years to come.

Spottswoode Winery Lyndenhurst Cabernet Sauvignon.
Lyndenhurst Cabernet Sauvignon. Photo Courtesy: Spottswoode Winery.

The exclusive limited production 2022 Estate Sauvignon Blanc “Mary’s Block” honors Mary Weber Novak, who managed the winery after her husband’s untimely death, continuing his dream. Novak’s favorite wine, Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc, has been produced since the mid-1980s.

The 2022 release consists of grapes from the Spottswoode Estate vineyard, aged in French oak barrels. 

Spottswoode Winery Estate Sauvignon Blanc “Mary’s Block".
2022 Estate Sauvignon Blanc “Mary’s Block”. Photo Courtesy: Spottswoode Winery.

Sustainability and Organic Farming

As one of the first Napa Valley wineries to adopt organic farming as early as 1985, Spottswoode received the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) certification in 1992. Their farming methods demonstrate their commitment to the environment along with their efforts to grow the highest quality grapes for their wines. 

Spottswoode Winery with CCOF sign in Vineyard.
Spottswoode Winery with CCOF sign in Vineyard. Photo Courtesy: Robb McDonough.

Maintaining the rich soil in Spottswoode’s vineyards involves planting cover crops, re-establishing native California grasses, and incorporating biodynamic principles like composting to support the ecosystem.

Flowering plants and nesting boxes provide habitats for native birds, beneficial insects, and owls that control undesirable pests and encourage diversity. Natural alternatives take the place of synthetic and organic herbicides.

The Spottswoode team works with biodynamic specialists and supports a variety of organizations that share their commitment to environmental stewardship. 

Spottswoode Winery Western Bluebirds on Birdhouse.
Western Bluebirds on Birdhouse. Photo Courtesy: Spottswoode Winery.

Spottswoode is open for visitors on weekdays, and the winery is closed on major holidays and weekends. Intimate tours and tasting experiences are available by appointment only at a cost of $150 per person. As the estate is a working winery, children and pets are not permitted (except for certified service animals).

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