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Thomas’ first projects at THE GRADE Cellars were our 2012 “Kingly Project” Cabernet Sauvignon which received 99 Pts from Robert Parker and our 2012 Winfield Estate Cabernet Sauvignon with 97 Pts. Since that impressive start we’ve continued our focus on making the best wines possible from our site - and the acclaim has continued as well.
Napa Valley is home to many exceptional winemakers. Then there’s Thomas Rivers Brown.
Thomas joined THE GRADE Cellars at the end of the 2011 harvest and has brought an exciting new palate and keen vineyard perception to our wine program.
Thomas makes our wines at Sundance Ranch in Calistoga along side his own project, Rivers-Marie. When asked what differentiates his many brands, he responds, “I can’t really define it, but I know it when I taste it.” He takes pride in there not being a recognizable trait in his wines - spoken like a true artist - and calls himself a non-interventionist. His talent exceeds those terms.
Thomas speaks about our site:
“I’m involved with maybe 80 Cabernet vineyards, and I’d say y’all’s site is at least in the top ten. Just based on wine quality, every year we taste your wines after fermentation and are amazed how good they are.”
“Winfield has a bit of a mini To-Kalon feel in that the different clones taste different, the different blocks taste different, and I can put your three wines in front of ten people and there might be #1’s for all three blocks among those ten people.
“The quality is incredibly high.”
Wine Spectator featured Thomas on the cover of its November 2018 issue as Napa Valleys “Top Gun”. Food & Wine Magazine named him Winemaker of the Year in 2010. Both Wine Spectator and The Wine Advocate have bestowed multiple 100 point scores on Cabernets made by Thomas over the past decade.
Thomas’ atheleticism sustains him through the stress of harvest. And his Aston Martin Rapide allows him to materialize, never late, at vineyard meetings.
Thomas Rivers Brown