HOWELL MOUNTAIN: Soil

Howell Mountain Soil

Several million years ago the volcano known as Mount Konocti deposited volcanic ash throughout Napa Valley. Howell Mountain itself is a weathered volcanic "knob" with two distinct soils: crumbly white decomposed volcanic ash known as rhyolitic tuff, or tufa, and red, iron-laden soils of clay and volcanic rock.

Both soil types exist on our La Jota estate, often covered by forest loam. Vines develop good root systems in these well-draining, porous, nutrient-lean soils, allows them to self-regulate the amount of water they take in. And because the soils are nutrient lean, the vines have to struggle to survive, a struggle that causes them to send their energy to the fruit that holds the seeds that will ensure another generation. This results in tiny berries and clusters with very high flavor concentration.