A few blocks off St. Helena’s Main Street, tree-lined Spring Mountain Road begins its 2,000-foot ascent from the Napa Valley floor. Wildflower sprays brighten the two-lane road in spring; fifty shades of green predominate the rest of the year. Just before the Sonoma County line, an elegant hand-crafted wrought-iron gate with gold-leafed spires and grape clusters opens into the gravel driveway of Schweiger Vineyards. Gently arcing rows of terraced grapevines command immediate attention, though on sunny days the eye invariably drifts skyward, north to Mount St. Helena and east to Howell Mountain. Stands of Douglas firs, madrones, live oaks, and a few redwoods obscure the valley floor, reinforcing the sense of a serene, self-contained universe set apart from Napa’s hoopla.
“‘This is halfway to heaven,’ is a typical remark when guests first arrive” at the 55-acre estate, said cofounder Sally Schweiger recently in the winery’s light-filled tasting room. The vaulted space’s largest window and the terrace just outside, where tastings also take place, look onto widely spaced rows of Cabernet Sauvignon. Ginny and Nikki, the family’s two retrievers, often dart through the vines at warp speed while raptors glide high overhead. Bluebirds that take up residence in strategically placed nest boxes appear like clockwork each vintage to protect the grapes from harmful insects.
The origins of the pastoral tableaux visitors experience today date back more than half a century, when Sally’s husband, Fred Schweiger, then in his late teens, purchased the 8-acre parcel where the Cabernet now grows. The sole access to Fred’s heavily forested land was through a larger adjacent property owned by his parents, Tony and Theresa Schweiger.
Learn more about Schweiger Vineyards, including the mind-bogglingly low price Fred paid for what’s now prime Wine Country land. Story continues below second photo on Napa Valley Life Magazine‘s website.