Our Winery’s Story
Producing a Most Personal Wine
This venture began with our passion for this place. We did not start the process the same way many wineries have. We lived here on Howell Mountain for several years before planting a single vine so that we might understand the particular dynamics of growing at this location.
We brought the property back to life from a neglected state. Pruning the overgrown 40-year-old table grape vineyard while renovating the fruit orchard. All in all, we would recover more than 50 fruit trees.
To test our own commitment to the craft of winemaking, and to learn the process, we began buying small lots of grapes to make home wine. Our first Cabernet began as a winning bid at the Howell Mountain Elementary School benefit auction. We assisted an experienced winemaker in making the wine from that lot of grapes. The next year, with the help of friends, we bought more grapes and made the wine in our garage. We have fond memories of standing in the cold, tasting from the barrel, then going inside for dinner to critique the developing wine.
From that first vintage, we fell in love with the challenges of winemaking, and committed to its pursuit through uncountable hours of research and viticulture and enology classes at Napa College. In that spirit we continue today with an annual vintage SPENCE Howell Mountain Cabernet. We have added ATELIER (french for studio/workshop) to our Cabernet wines by selecting two barrels that work exceptionally well together. Our SPENCE STUDIO wines, Cab Franc, Petite Verdot, Zinfandel and Rose’, continue to support our loyal wine club members.