Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery Overview
Spottswoode is an historic, family-owned estate vineyard and winery located on the western edge of St. Helena in Napa Valley. As stewards of this beautiful estate, we are guided by both intuition and respect for Mother Nature’s unique seasonal offerings. We treat the land with great care by hand tending and organically farming our vineyard, olive trees, and gardens. The attention given to each vineyard block is also applied to the crafting of our wines, contributing to their quality, consistency, and individuality. Among the first to introduce organic farming practices in the Napa Valley in 1985, we are proud to have enjoyed the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) certification since 1992.
At Spottswoode, our goal is to consistently produce exceptional wines that honor their terroir and vintage in a distinct, refined style—in short, wines that are worthy to stand among those of the world’s great wine estates.
The 46-acre estate was established in 1882 by George Schonewald, whose historic Victorian home is depicted on our label. Spottswoode was christened by Mrs. Albert Spotts, whose family owned the property from 1910 until its purchase in 1972 by Mary Weber Novak and her husband, Dr. Jack Novak. The Novaks restored the original home and replanted the pre-Prohibition-era vineyard. After Jack died unexpectedly in 1977, Mary carried out their shared dream, and Spottswoode’s debut Cabernet Sauvignon was produced in 1982, exactly one hundred years after the estate’s founding. Today, Spottswoode is renowned for its exceptional estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon. Our vineyard is planted primarily to Cabernet Sauvignon, with small amounts of Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, and Sauvignon Blanc. Beyond wine grapes, the property 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.
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, and Field Book. Spottswoode’s goal is to produce exceptional, well-balanced, structured wines that exhibit texture, elegance, consistency and the ability to age well. Our philosophy is to “honor the vineyard,” making the best wine possible from its distinctive terroir. 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. French oak is judiciously integrated, so that it complements our fruit’s nuances and power.
The 40-acre Spottswoode Estate Vineyard is an ideal terroir for growing wine grapes. Situated on the apex of the Sulphur Creek fan, the alluvial soils comprised primarily of sandy clay loam provide superb drainage. The gap between the Mayacamas Range and Spring Mountain admits cooling maritime breezes that temper the sun’s heat, creating an ideal microclimate for winegrowing. The vineyard is carefully managed by our own winegrowing team and hand tended by our skilled crew of four, who between them represent more than 50 years of working with our vines. We seek input from some of Napa’s finest consultants as we collectively strive to grow wine grapes of only the highest quality. One of the predominant clones of Cabernet has come to be called “Spottswoode Clone,” and can be found in a handful of other highly regarded vineyards in the Napa Valley.
Whereas the estate property is private and stately, the Winery property is Spottswoode’s nerve center, full of fervent activity involved in running our business. Our estate winery consists of two historic buildings (circa 1884): a Victorian farmhouse that serves as our office, and a pre-Prohibition stone cellar (the nineteenth pre-Prohibition winery in Napa Valley) where we barrel age our Cabernet Sauvignon. In 1999 we added a handsome winery, designed by Howard Backen to blend seamlessly with the property’s historic structures. This modern facility allows us to hand sort individual clusters before they are fermented in tanks specifically sized to match the crop harvested from the individual blocks within our estate vineyard.
We strive for balance, grace, integrity, and quality in our wines as well as in all aspects of our business. We place the highest priority on our personal and professional relationships, and we show respect for our environment by being caring stewards of our land and historic buildings. 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 on this creek we share with many residential neighbors. Further underscoring our commitment to our estate property and our community, the winery continues to add environmentally friendly practices to all of its operations, including the introduction of biodynamics, cashmere goats and a horse named Tucker, who helps us with our farming.
A small and dedicated group of individuals who share a passion for this estate contribute to Spottswoode’s success. Mary Novak’s daughter, Beth Novak Milliken, serves as winery President and CEO. Daughter Lindy Novak oversees national sales in conjunction with MaryPat Sullivan. Peah Armstrong serves as Vice President and CFO, and Erica Wallenbrock is our Director of Marketing. Tiffany Minnick is in charge of direct sales, while Nicole Knoth manages hospitality and events. Rounding out our team are Winemaker and Vineyard Manager Aron Weinkauf, and James Revie, who serves as Assistant Winemaker.