In 1880 the St. Helena Star contended that Howell Mountain "would be to California what Medoc is to France." In 1983, Howell Mountain was approved as a viticulture appellation, confirming what the turn-of-the-century growers already knew about the uniqueness of the region. The elevation creates a weather pattern that is often an inversion of the valley floor. As a result of cooler spring temperatures, bud break is delayed. The summer temperatures are warm at night, and as a result, the fruit demonstrates a great balance between acidity and sugar. Duckhorn Vineyards has utilized grapes from the Howell Mountain appellation since 1978. Beginning in 1989, we produced a meritage blend from fruit grown entirely within the district, and in 1993 we bottled our first Howell Mountain Merlot. We believe that this wine will be the Medoc of our portfolio.