With these words Robert Louis Stevenson began his ascent of Mount Saint Helena in a horse-drawn wagon along the Lawley Old Toll Road, which point marks the low corner of THE GRADE Cellars’ estate vineyard.
Since 2004 THE GRADE Cellars has produced wines of rare balance, eloquence and complexity from fruit grown on this special site. The estate is Winfield Vineyard which the owners, Tom Thornton and Brenda Mixson, purchased in 1997 and have since replanted into multiple distinctive Cabernet Sauvignon blocks. Situated in the foothills of the mountain, the vineyard combines terroir and mesoclimate conditions into an ideal Cabernet growing site.
THE GRADE focuses on sustainable farming practices and hand-crafted winemaking. The portfolio includes three estate Cabernet Sauvignons and a single vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, all grown and produced in the Calistoga sub-appellation of Napa Valley.
The wines are made under the skilled direction of Thomas Rivers Brown who joins Brenda and Tom as winemaker in their patient pursuit of wine poetry. Tom and Brenda have often said that their goal is to find a transparent expression of a single vineyard, even a single block, in each bottle, and Thomas has achieved this with the three distinctive Cabernets from Winfield Vineyard.
The wine names are taken from passages in the book The Silverado Squatters written byRobert Louis Stevenson in 1880. RLS and his bride Fanny spent their three-month honeymoon in a bunkhouse in the abandoned mining town of Silverado.