Winfield Vineyard is the estate vineyard of THE GRADE Cellars located on a 32-acre ranch north of Calistoga in Napa Valley. In naming our winery THE GRADE Cellars, we commemorate the stories about Napa Valley that Robert Louis Stevenson wrote in his book The Silverado Squatters while honeymooning on Mount Saint Helena in 1883. In his journal, Stevenson wrote of his travels up and down the Old Toll Road which was the stagecoach route over the mountain beginning at the south corner of our ranch.
“For some two miles we rattled through the valley, skirting the eastern foothills; then we struck off to the right, through haugh-land, and presently, crossing a dry water-course, entered the Toll road, or, to be more local, entered on “the grade.” The road mounts the near shoulder of Mount Saint Helena…
THE GRADE Cellars has produced wines of rare balance, eloquence and complexity from fruit grown on this special site since its first vintage in 2004. Situated in the foothills of that mountain, the vineyard combines its naturally pure groundwater, the terroir of its alluvial sedimentary fans and mesoclimate conditions unique to the upper valley into an ideal Cabernet Sauvignon growing site.
It’s our quest to show, as Stevenson expressed a century before modern critics, that California’s earth produces the finest Cabernets. We hope all who meet us and taste with us will be inspired to make the grade in their own lives.
“Making The Grade” is an expression for successful achievement in life by reaching a high standard, and it is a fitting metaphor to our winemaking quest since we purchased the ranch in 1997. We hope all who taste our wines will appreciate our efforts.
We have been joined in this endeavor by our winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown. Our shared ambition is to attain the transparency of expression between a single vineyard, even a single block, and each bottle it yields. Thomas has achieved this mission with three distinctive Cabernets from our Winfield Vineyard whose names are inspired by passages in The Silverado Squatters.
We enjoy the purposeful engagement of grape growing and winemaking across the year’s calendar, but we especially enjoy presenting the finished wines. We measure our success by the people with whom we taste our wine and have a habit of converting many of these customers into friends. We are fulfilled to have been in the Napa Valley all these years with the opportunity to share the beauty and bounty of this valley with others.