Paloma Winery is in Napa Valley’s Spring Mountain District. The 16-acre estate was founded by Barbara and Jim Richards, a couple from Texas who dreamed of having a small vineyard in Napa Valley. In the 1980s the couple bought Paloma Vineyard and they established the winery in 1994. Jim Richards died in 2009, but Barbara and their son Sheldon still own and operate the winery. Paloma is known for its Merlot, though it also grows Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. The flagship wine is Paloma Merlot, a Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon blend.
Spring Mountain AVA is above the town of St. Helena on the eastern slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains. There is no actual Spring Mountain, but the name has traditionally been used for the area, which includes many streams and springs. Spring Mountain was awarded appellation status in 1993 and it includes about 1,000 vineyard acres. Vineyard elevations are high, from 400 to 2,600 feet above sea level. Because of the altitude of most vineyards, which are above the fog line, mornings become warm earlier than vineyards on the valley floor, though the afternoons are cooled by maritime winds. The result is an exceptionally long growing season. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most frequently planted grape by acreage, followed by Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay.
The Merlot grape is such a deep blue that it is named for the blackbird. It’s an early ripening grape and one of the primary varietals used In Bordeaux. Merlot is also grown in the "International style," which is harvested later to bring out more tannins and body.