O’Shaughnessy Estate Winery was founded in 1990 by Betty O’Shaughnessy Woolls, a former Minneapolis real estate developer. She and her husband Paul Woolls remain the owners and operators of the St. Helena winery, which owns 100 acres on Howell Mountain and also has vineyards in Mount Veeder. Sean Capiaux is president and winemaker. The estate makes Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Wine Advocate has often rated the estate’s Cabs in the mid-90s. Antonio Galloni of Wine Advocate rated the 2009 Mt. Veeder Cab at 95 pts and called it “impeccable from start to finish.”
Howell Mountain AVA in Northeastern Napa Valley was the first of Napa Valley’s sub-appellations, earning its own designation in 1984, just a year after Napa Valley became an appellation. As the name suggests, the AVA is in one of the highest elevations in the area. Every vineyard in the appellation is at least 1,400 feet above sea level. Some vineyards are as high as 2,200 feet and because of their altitude most of the AVA’s vineyards receive more sun than vineyards at lower elevations, which are affected by fog from the Pacific Ocean and the San Pablo Bay. Howell Mountain was home to vineyards in the late 19th century, but winemaker Randy Dunn is considered the area’s most influential modern pioneer. Dunn moved to Howell Mountain in 1979, acquired property and began making exceptionally rich Cabernet Sauvignon. The AVA also grows Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. There are 600 vineyard acres within Howell Mountain AVA.
One of the most widely grown grape varieties, it can be found in nearly every wine growing region. A cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a hardy vine that produces a full-bodied wine with high tannins and great aging potential.