Resembling a giant staircase, Mount Veeder's vines are planted on wide terraces of earth cut into steep slopes. At elevations of 1,000 to 1,600 feet, the microclimate is very different from the Napa Valley floor. Above the fog bank, exposed to the gentle morning sun and protected from the afternoon heat by the surrounding mountains, grapes on these vines ripen slowly and evenly. And in autumn, the mountain's cool days and warm nights mean extra hang time. Rugged mountain conditions produce grapes with intensely concentrated fruit and big, rich tannins. Taming these tannins and preserving flavor are the high-altitude winemaker's biggest challenge. Because Mount Veeder's growing season starts late and often stretches well into November, harvest is a waiting game. But patience is rewarded with fully-developed flavors and ripe, rich tannins in the skins and seeds.