Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery
Established in 1882, the historic Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery was given its name by Mrs. Albert Spotts, who owned the property from 1910 until its purchase in 1972 by Mary and Jack Novak.
Historic Family Wine Estate
Located on the western edge of St. Helena, this artisanal, family-owned vineyard and winery produces less than 6,000 cases a year of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. The estate encompasses 46 acres, with 37 planted acres of organic vineyards and several distinctive buildings—an 1882 Victorian home, an 1884 stone winery (the 19th pre-Prohibition winery in Napa Valley), and an 1884 farmhouse (remodeled in 1992, which serves as the winery offices). The property also includes 115 olive trees bordering the estate and 2.5 acres of historic gardens, with groves of linden and redwood trees, plus stately Canary Island palm trees, a rare Chinese pagoda tree, a cork oak, large Valley Oaks and an abundance of roses, camellias and hydrangeas. An organic vegetable garden now thrives in a former horse riding ring.
The Novak family is passionate about integrating environmentally-sensitive practices into all aspects of grape production and land management. The Spottswoode vineyard has been farmed organically since 1985 and has been certified by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) since 1992. The estate is dotted with bird boxes, solar power units, a chicken coop, insectaries, owl boxes, beehives, and flowering plants on the vineyard borders that provide a beneficial habitat for bugs that prey on undesirable insects. The family has also helped restore Spring Creek, which defines the southern border of the estate, by adding willow walls, rock weirs, and indigenous plants to prevent erosion and invasive vegetation. The winery continues to add environmentally-friendly practices to all of its operations, including the introduction of biodynamic practices.
The Spottswoode Estate came to be in 1882 when German immigrant, George Schonewald, purchased 31 fertile acres at the foot of the Mayacamas mountain range in what is today the town of St. Helena. He planted 17 acres of wine grapes and designed and built an elegant home with formal gardens, which he named Esmeralda. In 1884, he sold several acres north of the estate to Frank Kraft, who built a farmhouse and sandstone wine cellar which served as the Kraft Winery until the late 1880s. In 1906, Schonewald sold his Esmeralda property to Joseph Bliss, who called the estate Stonehurst. In 1908 Dr. George Allen bought the property and named it Lyndenhurst in honor of the garden’s fragrant linden trees. In 1910 Allen sold the estate to Mrs. Albert Spotts, who renamed it Spottswoode after her late husband. The property was owned by her descendants until Mary and Jack Novak bought it in 1972, moving with their five children from southern California to enjoy a rural life in Napa Valley. In 1990, the Novak’s reunited the two properties when they acquired the former Kraft property, which houses all winery operations—offices, wine production and barrel storage
Spottswoode’s Victorian office building won an Award of Merit from Napa County Landmarks in 1992. The new winery building also won an Award of Merit from Napa County Landmarks in 1999 for “Exemplary New Winery Buildings in Historic Settings”.
The Spottswoode vineyard holds 37 planted acres of organically farmed Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Musque. One of the predominant clones of Cabernet has come to be called the “Spottswoode Clone,” and can be found in a handful of other highly-regarded vineyards in the Napa Valley.
Spottswoode farms and makes wine within the St. Helena appellation in the northern Napa Valley. The vineyards sit on the apex of the Sulphur Creek fan at the base of the Mayacamas Range and Spring Mountain; the gap where the Range and Mountain converge allows for a cooling maritime influence which defines the uniqueness of Spottswoode’s terroir. The vineyard soils are alluvial, comprised of sandy clay loam which allows for good drainage and water retention. The vines are primarily spaced 6' x 8', with a move towards 5' x 7' spacing.
Spottswoode’s goal is to produce exceptional, well-balanced, structured wines that exhibit texture, elegance, consistency and the ability to age well. The winery believes in “honoring the vineyard,” making the best wine possible from its distinctive terroir. To achieve this goal, we are selective at each step, incorporating only the best wine lots into our final blend. Our winemaking methods respect traditional techniques while employing modern tools. Each vintage and each vineyard block is treated thoughtfully and individually without a predetermined formula. Our goal during fermentation and aging is to obtain complementary blending components for the final wine.
To ensure the highest quality, Spottswoode is dedicated to producing a handful of wines in very limited quantities: Spottswoode Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc, Lyndenhurst, our companion estate Cabernet Sauvignon, and the recently-introduced Field Book, our Rhone style wine from Paso Robles. The Novak family is committed to producing wines that faithfully reflect their grape origins. In each wine we strive for a classic structure, for refinement, elegance, brilliant fruit flavors, and balance. French oak is judiciously integrated, so that it complements our fruit’s nuances and power.
Owner, Mary Novak
President & CEO, Beth Novak Milliken
National Marketing Director, Lindy Novak
Winemaker & Vineyard Manager, Aron Weinkauf
Vice President, Peah Armstrong
Assistant Winemaker, Landon Donley
Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery
1902 Madrona Avenue
St. Helena CA 94574
Tours by appointment only by calling 707/963-0134 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery Overview
- Growing a Family Wine Estate
- Spottswoode Estate Vineyard from a Bird’s Eye View
- Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery Background
- 2010 Spottswoode Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2009 Spottswoode Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2012 Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc
- 2011 Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc
- 2011 Lyndenhurst Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2010 Lyndenhurst Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2011 Field Book “Syrah”
- 2010 Field Book “Syrah”