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The Influence of History of Howell Mountain Wine Production

There were over 600 acres of planted vineyards in Howell Mountain by the late 19th century. Charles Drug was a major landowner with over 100 acres of vineyards. St Helena-based J. Thomas Winery bought a significant amount of grapes from the mountain. In 1885, Spring Hill Winery was established by George McMee.

Other noteworthy individuals were involved in the early wine industry. Jean Adolph Brun was born in Bordeaux and met Jean Chaix in Napa. In 1877, the two men planted 20 acres of vineyards on the mountain. These vines were derived from cuttings from the Medoc. In 1886 they founded Howell Mountain Winery. With its massive stone walls, the winery was one of the most costly buildings in Napa at the time.

Prohibition hit the isolated region particularly hard. Every winery was closed and vineyards were either neglected or replanted with other crops. Some producers reopened during the Post-Prohibition years, but these attempts were short-lived. An example was Howell Mountain Winery. It produced a limited amount of wine until the mid-1940s, but was closed after this date. It has since been reestablished as Chateau Woltner.

Serious interest in the mountain’s wine industry returned in the 1960s. Many of the old properties were bought and restored. In 1982, the region became the first sub-AVA within the broader Napa Valley.

> Howell Mountain Wineries

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