Napa Valley’s true greatness lies in its diversity. 16 AVA’s (American Viticultural Areas) are now identified throughout the entire county of Napa–each AVA recognized for geological traits such as soil types and weather patterns that contribute to its unique regional character. High in Napa Valley’s eastern Vaca Mountain range, one of these AVA’s is defined solely by elevation–Howell Mountain. First settled in the 1840s by Isaac Howell, winemakers such as Brun and Chaix, and Keyes soon followed. Wines grown in this sub-region drew world-wide attention to Napa Valley in the 1880s for red wines that won top awards in prestigious international competitions. A century later in 1983, Howell Mountain because of its special uniqueness became distinguished as the first sub AVA within the Napa Valley.
Starting at an altitude of 1,800 ft. above sea level, the old, head trained Zinfandel vines of Beatty Ranch date back to pre-World War I. The vineyard on Howell Mountain is uniquely positioned just above the Pacific Ocean’s marine layer of morning fog that encroaches along the length of the Napa Valley on a daily basis throughout the growing season. At this lofty, sunny location summer daytime temperatures are cooler, nights are warmer, breezes are steady and the vines’ moderate growing season more gradual. Soils formed on Howell Mountain by volcanic activity are extremely well-drained and the sunlight-soaked vines produce small berries of intense flavors and ripe tannins. Zinfandel thrives and survives here as the conditions for this thinner-skinned variety are ideal. These influences produce concentrated red wines with deep color, chocolatey black fruit, mineral character, fine acidity, and balanced tannins. Howell Mountain red wines have a reputation among collectors for complexity, solid structure, and long life.