Location, location, location
Climate - in the broad context of temperature, precipitation, prevailing wind and storm patterns as well as exposure
to the sun - is of crucial importance for optimum fruit development and thus the quality of a vineyard. Storybook Mountain is located at the top of the Napa Valley, on an eastern slope of the Mayacamas Range whose ridges separate Napa from Sonoma. This gives us the desired eastern exposure, an orientation we share with many of the greatest vineyards in Bordeaux and Burgundy. Adequately warm weather for ripening is rarely a problem in the Napa Valley - and certainly not for us. Open to the morning sun and providing an oblique angle to the hot afternoon sun for a growing day of even temperature, an easterly exposure helps avoid both the heat spikes and heat accumulation that can occur on a late summer afternoon. Vines actually shut down when the temperatures rise above 95 degrees F, whereas maximum efficiency in sunlight and nutrient assimilation is reached between 75 and 85 degrees F.
Our location at the top of the Valley further moderates our temperature. The Russian River to our west funnels in cooling ocean breezes on warm afternoons. The path of these breezes to the hot interior leads over the low point in the ridge separating the valley systems, i.e. Storybook Mountain. As a result, we are usually 10 degrees cooler than the valley just below us.
The rain pattern, too, contributes to the uniqueness of our site. Because of the winter storms that come off the Pacific and in from the north, and our proximity to 4344-foot Mount St. Helena, our corner of Napa is the rainiest in the county, receiving twice the rain of Carneros at the south end of the Valley. This moisture - given our clay soil and relative coolness - means most of our mature vines do not need irrigation. In the crucial summer and fall months, however, we receive less rain than the rest of the Valley, protected as we are by our ridges and northerly location from the summer and fall storms that usually come up from Mexico. This relative dryness is an especially wonderful boon if the weather at harvest is less than ideal.
The land and the weather come together in unique ways at Storybook Mountain, assuring you who drink our wines of all the advantages of estate grapes grown organically on one of Napa Valley's best vineyard sites as well as its most beautiful.
previous articles: Why Zinfandel?
Have Clay, Face East