Spring Mountain

I recently had the opportunity to veer off the beaten path and head up Spring Mountain to visit Stony Hill Vineyards with a few of my wine writer colleagues. When I say off the beaten track it is quite a way off, but worth the drive for the wine, hospitality, and scenery!

Winemaker – Mike Chelini

The Winemaker

We tasted through the wines with winemaker Mike Chelini and had a lovely vineyard dinner with owner Peter McCrea and his daughter, Sarah McCrea, who serves as current operational President.

A simple barrel room – no frills

The Barrel Room

It was a bit of a blast through the 1970’s past as the tasting room has been converted from the McCrea family home and shows all of the cool 1970’s architecture and decor of the era.

The pool looked so inviting.. I wanted to take a dip

The winery complex

The barrel room sits a short walking distance away from the swimming complex/outside entertainment area and I’d guess that to be much older – maybe even built in the 1900s. Everything on the property screams retro,  old school, family, and tradition.

Beautiful sun-dappled vineyards

Environmentally Friendly

When visiting the barrel room, you can hear loud pops and hisses and there were drops falling on your head. There was nothing glamorous going on there. Apparently, they are known for reusing their barrels and not over-oaking ever! Well, that is what I call environmentally friendly.

The best sip of the night goes to the Dry Gewurztraminer!

White Wines

Our first taste of the wine of the evening was their 2016 Dry Gewurztraminer (sold out). I have never had a dry Gewurztraminer before, and for me, this knocked it straight out of the park. Such a sexy, complex wine. The nose was floral and intense, with notes of kumquat and lychee on the palate.  I would have loved to see this paired with duck tacos from Oxbow Market for the win! This is some serious wine and I’m really hoping I can get my hands on some for next year. I may have to buy a case and hoard it all to myself.

The White Riesling was very good

We next tried their 2016 White Riesling. ($35). This is a dry white Riesling and a terrific effort but for my palate, it takes second place to its neighbor Smith-Madrone.

As we sat down to dinner in the vineyard, Pete regaled us with stories about his time on the mountain and all of the changes to the Napa wine scene over the years. It was fascinating listening to the winery and family’s history as we dined in the changing light, drinking the beautiful wines.

I’m a fan of the Chardonnay!

Next up we had the 2013 Chardonnay ($54.00) which was very lovely. I was impressed with its balance. It had good acidity and a lot of minerality to it, which made it fantastic with food. I was impressed that they didn’t overdo the wood; making it a great, easy to drink wine. I would love to sit and relax with a glass or two of that and I’d be happy to pair it with Salmon or Chicken dishes.

Wonderful Cabernet

Red Wines

Our final wine of the night was paired perfectly with a filet mignon; the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon ($75). The wine had all of the right notes; leather, herbs, and a touch of forest fruits blended together in a symphony of flavors.  I thought it would get even better with a bit of time to mature, though is certainly approachable right now.

Preparing for dinner

Quality Never Goes Out Of Style…

I really enjoyed the wines of Stony Hill Vineyards. Even though I described them as old school, quality wine never goes out of style.

Apricot, mixed leaf and goats cheese salad




  1. It sounds like a great visit. I love their Chardonnay – it is crafted in such an old world style. I would love to try their Riesling and Gewurz.

  2. The table is set in such a beautiful setting. It must have been hard to pay attention to the wine and food while sitting there! I would love to try their Riesling and Gewurz.. so hard to find good ones and dry ones!

  3. I like the retro, traditional vibe. Set amongst the ultra-modern, architectural masterpieces that dot the Napa landscape, this sounds like a dream. And the idea of duck tacos with dry gewurz? Now that’s just downright delicious!

  4. Love, love, love finding out about lesser known wineries. Sounds like they’re doing terrific wine and that it’s well worth the visit on our next trip (we are going to be very busy thanks to you)!

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