The Mueller Family Story

The Mueller Family Story

I was in my office seeing patients when I got a call from my wife, Angie. She was angry. “I thought we had an agreement,” she said. “No expenditures over $500 without mutual consent!” I had no idea what she was talking about. She told me that she had come home to find 250 vines planted around our house. I felt a moment of panic and wondered if my friend Jess Madrigal had misunderstood our last conversation. I asked him what it might cost to plant a few vines on our property. Now we had 250 vines. I gave Jess a call immediately. He listened patiently and then said, “Do you remember the good medical care you provided to my sister, Cora, all those years without charge? The vines are a gift from her.”

Cora’s Vineyard yielded the first grapes for our homemade and homegrown wine. Over many dinner conversations with Jess, and many bottles of that homegrown cabernet, we continued to discuss the possibility of developing more of the property for vineyards. We decided to investigate. Jess took some samples of the soil for analysis. The lab tech found the sodium levels so high that he kept looking to see if the sample had been transported in a potato chip bag. But Jess had a hunch, and after considerable arm twisting, and leaving the contractor’s cut on the table, he got us to agree to clear, rip and plant. The choice of Cabernet Sauvignon seemed obvious since Diamond Mountain has the reputation for producing superlative Cabs. The 2007 vintage was a product of that first planting of Spotteswood clone cabernet.

We began making wine as a family in September of 1982 when Barbara Spaulding offered Angie and me a chance to pick the fence line cabernet sauvignon grapes on one of Stonegate’s vineyards. Angie had our daughter, Nicolette on her back as she picked. We had a bottle of that first wine recently and it was quite respectable knowing it was our first homemade wine and that it is now 27 years old. Over the years we have received lots of valuable wine-making advice from friends, neighbors and my patients. By 1990 our homemade label became Howling at the Moon, a tradition started by our youngest daughter, Claire. I would take the girls out to the yard during the summer full moon and we would hone our howling skills.

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Angie, Nicolette, Frank, Claire 2014

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Howling at the Moon – Designed by Gertrud Mueller Nelson Special thanks to artist, Steven Sorman for creating our diamond logo.

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We would like to give special thanks to Jess Madrigal,
Barbara Spaulding,Vince Arroyo, Norm Kiken and all our
Diamond Mountain neighbors and Napa Valley friends and colleagues.