The Wines

Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Highest elevation Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon handcrafted by the incomparable Thomas Rivers Brown, Black Sears Estate Cabs are incredibly concentrated, structured wines that gracefully walk the line between power and elegance. These are site-driven wines whose spice and minerality perfectly compliment the abundant black and red fruit--an homage to their mountaintop home.

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Estate Cabernet Franc

Originally planted in the 90s to blend with our Cabernet Sauvignon, we began to produce a 100% Cabernet Franc from the steep hillside vineyard at the behest of winemaker Thomas Brown in 2008. It’s since blossomed into the proverbial belle of the ball. Floral, yet earthy and spicy, the Estate Cab Franc is Black Sears at its finest and most unique. This wine is produced in very limited quantities of fewer than 100 cases per vintage, and is therefore allocated exclusively to members.

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Estate Zinfandel

Planted in 1975 on old St George rootstock with bud wood from the historic Hayne Vineyard in St Helena, this twelve-acre, head-trained hillside vineyard is 100% dry-farmed and the most elevated in all the Howell Mountain AVA at around 2400 feet. Planted atop an old apple orchard from the previous century, spaced 8-feet by 12-feet, this is a vineyard that will never, ever be planted in the Napa Valley again.

So while most of Howell Mountain has been planted or replanted to Cabernet over the past few decades because of the exponentially higher prices that varietal commands in today’s market, we have steadfastly refused to pull out this Zinfandel. 

All we can say is that some things are just that special

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In 2019, we planted an additional five acres of vines with the intention of expanding our own wine program: three additional acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, one additional acre of Cabernet Franc, and a first-ever acre of Merlot. While we are still developing these blocks and learning their character and idiosyncrasies, we know for certain that it sits atop some of the finest and most interesting dirt in the entire region: an upper layer of volcanic, kaolinite clay soil separated from a second, deeper and more nutrient-rich layer by a visible striation of ash from a volcanic event that occurred thousands of years ago. 

Beginning with the 2023 vintage, we are producing a Bordeaux blend from this block we are calling Barbarous—a tribute to the beautiful savagery of Nature and to the unlikely confluence of forces that made such a unique winegrowing site possible.