The GRADE Cellars 1236 LINCOLN AVE CALISTOGA, CA 94515 (707) 967-8200
© 2018 The GRADE Cellars ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Thomas Winfield Thornton, Proprietor
Vintner by day and architect by night. Discovered French wines at 15. Would rather be playing the piano.
Brenda Joyce Mixson
Born to dance. Raised on a Florida cattle ranch. Smartest person in the room. Wine is better in her presence.
Labradoodle. Named for Robert Louis Stevenson’s wife Fanny. Born to chase balls, chew balls, bury balls. All balls belong to her.
Blind Dates Work
We met on a blind date and discovered a common passion for food & wine, adventure & spontaneity, plus an ethic for hard work. Nevertheless, it was still a surprise to friends and family when we announced that we were leaving the east coast for some California grass.
In 1997 we purchased our 32-acre ranch just a country mile north of Calistoga at the foot of Mount Saint Helena and moved full-time to the valley in 2004. We cut our teeth on in the wine industry by farming the existing Sauvignon Blanc vineyard on the property which we named Winfield Vineyard. Thus began our first blend – the intensity of The Big Apple with the lifestyle of The Napa Valley.
We were determined to grow the best fruit that our site and its Calistoga earth could produce, and we did. We studied Winkler, dug test pits, drilled a new well, and in 2000 we replanted the vineyard into five distinctive Cabernet Sauvignon blocks. In 2012 we added two blocks for a total of seven Cabernet blocks.
While still immersed in day jobs of architecture and commercial real estate finance, we crushed our inaugural vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon wine – THE GRADE – thus marking our return to full intensity in 2004. We discovered the label’s name in the writings of Robert Louis Stevenson who became our muse. “The grade” was a thread throughout his book “The Silverado Squatters”, and we delighted in the metaphorical meaning of “making the grade” as achievement in life.
We are fortunate to be working with Thomas Rivers Brown as our winemaker. He recognized Winfield’s potential when first he came on board to blend the 2010 vintage and it’s already realizing that potential. Thomas also fostered our temperment for a measured and deliberate approach to the wine business. After his first full vintage at THE GRADE Cellars, Thomas debuted with a 99 point score from Robert Parker for our 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon which we named KINGLY PROJECT. The critics are on notice that there’s a new player on the block and it’s Block 5 at Winfield Vineyard.
Let’s Do It
We say, “the land of paradise is expressed in this wine of rare balance, eloquence and complexity - pull a cork and taste the place”, and we have two venues for doing so in Calistoga.
We refer to our tasting room in downtown Calistoga as “The Library” which is where we run the business and share wine with friends in Arts & Crafts styled surroundings. We also enjoy al fresco experiences together overlooking our reservoir at our 1971 vintage Airstream trailer in the vineyard.
No matter what the venue, we are fulfilled to be in the Napa Valley with the opportunity to share the beauty and bounty of Calistoga earth through the handcrafted wines we bottle.