Outpost Winery • (Howell Mtn) Angwin, CA
I was lucky enough to visit Outpost Winery in May of 2014. It’s in Angwin, CA which is in the heart of Howell Mountain. (Definitely my favorite part of Napa Valley especially when the red juice is being poured.) Howell Mountain overlooks the Northern end of the Napa Valley above St. Helena and Calistoga. It’s home of what’s known as the big “mountain fruit” that makes some of the best wines in the area. Great fruit makes great juice is a motto I’ve heard sung more than a few times up there.
When you take the drive up to Howell Mountain, be prepared to go rural because the boutiquey-ness of Rutherford & St. Helena dissolve into winding roads and mountain vineyards. It is gorgeous. You will feel transported rather than only being 12 miles from the valley floor. It feels different. You feel like you are somewhere else. Not sure how that happens but its like a vacation within a vacation.
Most of the wineries on Howell Mountain have higher than average price points so nickel and diming isn’t on the menu. In addition, most of the wineries are by appointment only so don’t head up there without calling ahead of time. Outpost is no different.
Outpost is one of the “newer” wineries on Howell Mountain established in 1998 and is a fairly small vineyard of only 28 acres. However, quantity is not what Outpost is all about. Outpost makes no excuses for their efforts towards sustainability, high quality and as little grape manipulation as possible. Their commitment shines brightly in their wines.
After more turns on more, tiny mountain roads than you will remember, Outpost emerges with big rustic charm. Just past the security gate, the large barn/production facility rises out of nowhere. It’s clearly a working winery but yet you question its age and length of dormancy. After you pass through the storage facility archway, you arrive at the Outpost tasting room. A quaint tasting room perfect for learning about the Outpost philosophy and if you are lucky enough maybe a few morsels for nibbling.
The biggest treat that Outpost offers is their small but brilliant crushed granite patio. Sitting in low back adirondack chairs, sipping great mountain reds makes the Outpost experience become truly “an experience.” You sit and listen to a hawk screech as it scans the Outpost vineyards on the hillsides below. It is the best way to spend time tasting great wines on a fantastic property. I’m a big fan Outpost. I can’t wait to return.
2075 Summit Lake Drive
Angwin, CA 94508
How to get there:
Head north into Napa Valley on Highway 29 or Silverado Trail through the town of St Helena and take a right on Deer Park Road. Deer Park Road will turn into Howell Mountain Road as you go past White Cottage Road. Continue on Howell Mountain Road until you get into the town of Angwin. In Angwin you will hit a stop sign which is College Avenue, go left on College Avenue. Once on College Avenue, go to the second stop sign which is White Cottage Road (yes, you passed it earlier but didn’t go that way). Take a right on White Cottage Road and go about 1 mile. Summit Lake Drive will be on your left, take a left on Summit Lake Drive and go 1.2 miles. You will go over 2 speed bumps. Winery is on the left after 2nd speed bump.