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Why is Howell Mountain AVA So Special for Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon?

High above Napa Valley, Howell Mountain offers ideal conditions for Cabernet Sauvignon. Its elevation, rocky soils, and cooler climate produce grapes with concentrated flavors and robust structure. Discover why this AVA is favored by collectors and critics alike.

Elton Slone Reads This Article

High above the Napa Valley floor, Howell Mountain stands as a beacon for extraordinary Cabernet Sauvignon. As a vintner dedicated to crafting exceptional wines, I want to share why collectors & enthusiasts increasingly favor Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Terroir Advantage

Howell Mountain’s elevation, ranging from 1,400 to 2,200 feet, provides a cooler climate and direct sunlight, resulting in a longer growing season. This allows the grapes to achieve optimal ripeness while maintaining balanced acidity. The rocky, well-drained soils force the vines to dig deep for nutrients, resulting in smaller, more concentrated berries with thicker skins. These thick skins contribute to rich tannins, deep color, and complex flavors.

Enhanced Flavor Profiles and Aging Potential

Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignons are renowned for their robust structure, vibrant fruit, and earthy undertones. Notes of blackberry, cassis, and dark cherry are complemented by hints of minerality and spice, creating a wine that is both powerful and elegant. The combination of high acidity, robust tannins, and concentrated fruit allows these wines to develop gracefully over time, making each vintage a unique experience.

Lower Yields, Higher Quality

Howell Mountain vineyards yield fewer grapes per acre compared to valley vineyards, directly impacting quality. The reduced yield allows for more concentrated flavors and complexity in the wine. Collectors & enthusiasts recognize the superior quality that comes from these limited production wines, appreciating the meticulous care and attention that go into every bottle.

Sustainable and Resilient Practices

Howell Mountain viticulture promotes sustainable and resilient farming practices. The natural slope aids in water drainage, reducing the risk of mold and disease. Commitment to sustainable farming includes minimal intervention and organic practices, protecting the environment and enhancing the purity of the wines.

Experience the Difference

Wine critics and connoisseurs consistently praise Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignons. Decanter Magazine recently described a Howell Mountain Cabernet as “a benchmark for Napa Valley, showcasing the power and finesse of mountain fruit.” I invite Napa Valley Insiders to explore Howell Mountain and experience firsthand the exceptional quality of its Cabernet Sauvignon. Tours and tastings at various wineries provide an immersive journey into the unique terroir and meticulous craftsmanship that define these wines.

Robert Craig Winery

Top 12 Howell Mountain Wineries

  1. Robert Craig Winery - Known for its powerful and elegant Cabernets that showcase the best of mountain fruit.
  2. Dunn Vineyards - Renowned for producing age-worthy Cabernets with intense structure and depth.
  3. Ladera Vineyards - Offers exceptional Cabernets with rich, complex flavors and a long finish.
  4. O’Shaughnessy Estate Winery - Praised for its meticulously crafted Cabernets that balance power and finesse.
  5. Outpost Wines - Celebrated for robust and flavorful Cabernets that reflect the unique Howell Mountain terroir.
  6. CADE Estate Winery - Known for its commitment to sustainability and producing high-quality, bold Cabernets.
  7. Arkenstone Vineyards - Produces limited quantities of premium Cabernets with a focus on elegance and complexity.
  8. Bravante Vineyards - Offers rich, concentrated Cabernets with excellent aging potential.
  9. Red Cap Vineyards - A family-owned winery known for its handcrafted Cabernets with a distinctive mountain character.
  10. Black Sears Estate - Famous for its biodynamic practices and producing highly expressive, balanced Cabernets.
  11. Howell at the Moon Winery - Recognized for its small-batch, artisanal Cabernets that highlight the mountain’s unique terroir.
  12. White Cottage Ranch - Offers distinctive Cabernets with rich flavors and a focus on sustainable practices.


Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon represents the pinnacle of winemaking. The unique terroir, superior soil composition, and sustainable practices result in wines that are richly flavored, complex, and highly sought after by collectors & enthusiasts. Celebrate the distinctive character and unparalleled quality of Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon by visiting these top wineries and experiencing the difference for yourself.

This article has been brought to you by Cuvée. Cuvée is a Napa Valley Winery Guide built by a team of locals who are passionate about discovering new brands and unique experiences.

Elton Slone

Elton Slone, managing partner at Robert Craig Winery, joined in 2004 to revamp farming, winemaking, and sales. Passionate about site expression, he travels the US sharing his love for old-world wines.

Napa, CA