The Grade Cellars

1236 Lincoln Avenue
Calistoga, CA 94515


About Us:

Fast forward to 1985.  Enter Brenda and Tom.  We meet on a blind date and delightfully discover we had much in common  a passion for food, fun, wine and margaritas, a spontaneous outlook on life's opportunities and an ethic for hard work.  The real estate we eventually picked up together along the way is testimony to all those tendencies!  Yet, it was still a surprise to friends and family when we announced we were moving from Greater New York City to take on the stewardship of a piece of that Calistoga earth Fast forward again to 1996.  Now the story begins.  We both visited Napa Valley in the mid-nineties during coinciding business trips from the East Coast and began our dream of it being our retirement terroir.  

Within two years, we accelerated that timetable, took the leap and purchased a 32-acre ranch outside Calistoga that included an old vineyard which came to be called Winfield Vineyard.  Thus began our trade of the intense experiences of the East Coast for the lifestyle of Napa Valley  not that the intensity disappeared!  It was neither retirement nor retrenchment, but rearrangement of our life goals to pour the wine industry on top of everything else we were doing.  Talk about Thelma and Louise!  Today's technology has allowed us to maintain our Type A personalities in this paradise setting   Tom is an architect, still practicing and passionate about his work, and Brenda has made a career in the investment world.  We've never looked back.    

Our initial goal was to grow the best quality fruit our Calistoga earth could produce.  In 2000 we replanted the vineyard into five distinctive Cabernet blocks and began selling fruit to some of Napa's finest wineries.In 2004, after completing construction of our new house in downtown St. Helena, we undertook our next life-changing endeavor, namely we made our inaugural vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon wine  The Grage.  That officially marked our return to full intensity.  We found our label's name in the writings of Robert Louis Stevenson who visited Napa Valley in the late 19th Century and honeymooned on Mount Saint Helena above our vineyard.  His travels up and down the Old Toll Road ("the grade") were a thread throughout his book "The Silverado Squatters."  We also took this reference to his route as our name because "making the grade" is a metaphor for achievement in life  to be the best that one can be.

In the spring of 2008 we released our inaugural vintage of The Grade at a big coming-out event at PJ Clarke's in New York.  We, the expatriate New Yorkers, returned to our eastern friends victorious, bearing our luscious California nectar!  That year we also made our first vintage of Sea-Fog Sauvignon Blanc, and this fanciful name can also be credited to Stevenson. 

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