In the late 1970’s and early ‘80s, Howell Mountain was making a name for itself, thanks to a few iconic wineries (some with pre-prohibition roots) that eventually helped make Howell Mountain the very first sub AVA of Napa Valley. Howell Mountain AVA was created in 1984, and it was soon after, that we first discovered, and were irretrievably drawn to this stunning land. After purchasing the property in 1988, with a serious commitment to tending our gem, Arkenstone Estate was born. For nearly 30 years, we, along with our Arkenstone family and many winery visitors, have shared the beauty and bounty of the Estate with bear, coyote, Mountain lion, rattle snake, scorpion and raptors of all sorts. Remnants of native Obsidian work, as well as historic dry-stack walls made of ancient local stone, are constant reminders that Arkenstone is just the latest inhabitant to appreciate, care for and benefit from this unique land.
Vine To Glass: Creating the Estate
With the goal of producing the best wine possible from this beautiful site, we chose to become a true Domain Estate, where our underground winery, completed in 2008, along with our Estate vineyards planted primarily in 1998, allow us total control over all aspects of winemaking. In making this decision, we were thinking foundationally and long term, taking into account the stewardship that would be necessary to support thriving vineyards, and a healthy ecosystem throughout the ranch for many years to come. We chose to move slowly and carefully in our development of this Estate in order to maintain and nurture the native plant and animal species, and respect the contours of the land. We also took our time to seek out the best of old world practices, along with the newest technology, in the vineyards as well as the winery, in order to make wine at the highest level possible. Our first Vintage to the market, after patiently waiting for our vineyards to mature, was the 2006 vintage –although there are rumors of early vintages bottled in shiners, buried somewhere deep in the cellar.
Our vineyards have been farmed organically from the beginning, and we continue to promote soil vitality with planted cover crops and composting. We also continue to learn, and implement ways to help make the entire project more sustainable in terms of materials, energy and water usage. An established bee colony and many occupied owl houses help foster this healthy eco-system, leaving us with a smaller population of rodents and a bonus of delicious honey! Much of the property is the way it was when we first saw it and there is still a sense of discovery as you hike through vineyard, forest and meadow.
We welcome old friends as well as new visitors to Arkenstone. We invite you to come and taste our wine and share in the beauty of our Howell Mountain retreat. Tours and tastings are by appointment, so please schedule your visit in advance.
Ron and Susan Krausz