A Wine Dream Turned Reality on Howell Mountain

Blog courtesy of Herb Lamb Vineyards

It seems like only yesterday that we arrived at our seven-acres in the foothills of Howell Mountain in St. Helena with big dreams. The rocky hillside, ranging from 600 to 800 feet in elevation, was cleared and wide terraces were graded in preparation for planting. Our dreams have become a reality — we’ve just recently celebrated 25 years of grape growing in the Napa Valley.

The first fruits of our labor arrived in 1990 with a modest crop that was sold to neighboring winemakers. With an average yield of less than two tons per acre, we recognized that this was no “get rich quick” scheme. By 1991, Michael Trujillo of Karl Lawrence Cellars had discovered the unique quality of our fruit for inclusion in his new wine venture. The following year, Ann Colgin selected our vineyard as the sole source for her signature wine, and continued to purchase Herb Lamb fruit for the next 15 years.

Herb Lamb Vineyards Napa Valley

With much encouragement, we took the leap from grape grower to wine brand in 1997 when we produced our first 50 cases of HL Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon to rave reviews. We chose winemaker Michael Trujillo to help craft our wines and have been blessed with his expertise ever since. Sustainable with minimum intervention, our vineyard is farmed with respect for the land and animals who inhabit it. We now produce more than 300 cases of HL Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon annually from the same few rows of our north-east facing hillside estate vineyard, and pride ourselves on offering distinctive wines year after year.

About the Owner:

Herb Lamb Vineyards is owned by Herb’s widow, Jennifer Lamb, who continues to nurture this cool-climate hillside property that consistently produces some of the finest wines in the Valley. Originally from Pasadena, with no prior agricultural background, she attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the early ’70s as an Ag Science major where she raised hogs and farmed row crops. There, she met the Aggie of her dreams, Napa native Herb, who after graduation took her home to his sleepy community of Napa Valley to start a life together in agriculture. They quickly established jobs in the growing wine industry, gaining valuable connections and knowledge.

Jennifer began forging relationships with the Valley’s wineries and vineyards through her own tour business, Wine Country Tours, in the early ’80s. She then expanded into the Hospitality, Public Relations, and Marketing arms of the industry, where she stayed for more than 20 years. In 2002, she left the corporate wine world to focus her energies and passion on Herb Lamb Vineyards and its labels.

Herb spent his youth in the Napa Valley, working in the hay fields, walnut and prune orchards, a fruit dehydrating plant, and even a local feed store. After graduating with a degree in Soil Science in 1975, he and his business partner opened the Napa Valley Ag Supply, one of the first agricultural chemical businesses in the Napa Valley. Herb’s intimate knowledge of soils and growers in the area were unmatched. In his 35 years of work, he knew every gate code in the valley and became acquainted with nearly every vineyard manager, winery owner, and ranch dog. His experience with many of the finest vineyards in the Valley led him to choose our rocky hillside parcel to plant the vineyard of his dreams. He passed away on December, 12 of 2014.

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