W I N E M A K I N G

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 1.21.06 PMJames Laube of Wine Spectator says of Winemaker Thomas Brown, “When Napa Cabernet is debated, Brown’s name is increasingly mentioned. Of all the spectacular Cabernets made in the past decade, his is one of the most inspiring collections. Since 2000, he has made 37 individual bottlings of Cabernet Sauvignon for Schrader Cellars. Twenty have earned ratings of 95 points or higher on the Wine Spectator 100-point scale, including a pair of 100-point 2007s. Ninety-one is the lowest score in the bunch. Brown’s Cabernets are opulent and polished, offering layers of dark berry and toasty integrated oak.”

Thomas Rivers Brown was hired as our winemaker in 2007.  At that time, Thomas hand-selected top quality bench-grafted budwood for many of the clones to replant the majority of our 12 acre vineyard in Healdsburg’s Dry Creek Valley.A 2.3 acre portion of the vineyard – which had been planted in 1999 – was not disturbed and has continued to bear excellent fruit and make high point scoring wine – which has a remarkable nose, mouthfeel, and finish. In the early morning hours of harvest, our fruit is transported to Tamber Bey winery, where it begins its transformation into exquisite wine.

“If a winemaker can only be as good as his grapes, that explains part of Brown’s success, as he is working with a variety of top sites. His aim is to taper the style to the terroir. Those who know Brown say he’s intuitive, a good listener, confident without being arrogant, and wise beyond his years,” says Laube.


After sorting and crushing the fruit, vinification begins. Our wine is stored for 20 months in 3/4 new French Oak barrels from a variety of French Coopers (Darnajou, Taransaud). Throughout the aging process, wines are racked to and barrels are topped. After 20 months, the wine is drawn off from the oak barrels and put into holding tanks to prepare for bottling, but before we do that, the wines have to be tasted and blended.
In 2013, the 10 acres of vines in Spencer Vineyard and Jersey Boys Vineyard that were replanted in 2008 came into 5th Leaf, which is when a vineyard is approaching full production. These vineyards have come into their own in exciting ways. In 2013, we released our first vintage of Jersey Boys Cabernet Sauvignon and in 2016, we will release our first vintage of Spencer Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.