Blending Heritage and Distinction on Howell Mountain
Since 1997, Neal Vineyards has crafted striking, organic wines from its Rutherford and Howell Mountain vineyards. Yet the winery has also remained a small, dynamic family business, the kind that could be found everywhere in the early days of Napa Valley.
The idea for Neal Vineyards grew out of years of conversation and hard work between owner Mark Neal and his father, Jack Neal. In 1968, Jack and Mark founded Jack Neal & Son Vineyard Management together in Rutherford. From the early days of Jack Neal & Son, the Neal family has farmed its estate vineyards along with those of many other wineries in Napa Valley. Since 1984, Jack Neal & Son began working with California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) as the largest vineyard management company in Napa County.
Mark Neal bought one of his first vineyards on his own in the 1990s. He decided on a quiet spot on Howell Mountain to build his home and the winery. Mark Neal said the winery is well-thought-out and self-sufficient. “We put a lot of hard work into it. I’m blessed and grateful every day.”
Neal Vineyards produces 3,000 cases of high-quality wines that are known far beyond Napa Valley. The business is well known for its two single- vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons, Neal Family Vineyards Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, and Neal Family Vineyards Rutherford Dust Cabernet Sauvignon.
Jessica Neal, Mark Neal’s daughter and Neal Vineyards’ director of sales and marketing, described the Howell Mountain fruit as balanced, with a strong flavor of dark berries.
“Our Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon has that classic dark color and tannin that delivers a punch. The Rutherford fruit has a chewy feel and more acid. The Rutherford Dust Cabernet Sauvignon is very fruit- forward, with soft tannins. She adds, “All of the Neal Vineyards’ wines are very traditional, with an earthy, rustic component.” The winery also makes a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, a blend of the two single-vineyard Cabs, Sauvignon Blanc, Rutherford Dust Zinfandel, Rutherford Dust Petite Syrah, and Napa Valley Chardonnay.
Neal Vineyards’ winemaker Jordan Stanley said with all the “good fruit coming in the door,” it’s easy to make high-quality wines. “Neal Vineyards’ Cabernet Sauvignons are more balanced and not overly extracted. I think it has to do with the fact that the vines are grown organically.”
Although the wines age well and are widely sought, they have an affordable price point.
“Our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% of its varietal, it is a blend of different clones from all our properties, and can be purchased at the winery for $45. It really is a great value for that kind of price point,” said Jessica Neal.
707-965-2800 // www.nealvineyards.com
716 Liparita Avenue, Angwin, CA, 94508