2021 Cabernet Sauvignon

2023 Offering
Premiere Napa Valley
Auction 27 | Lot No. 131
Vintage: 2021



Cabernet Sauvignon

5 cases produced


  • Your wine is 100% estate Cabernet Sauvignon from Block 5, Clone 337, capturing characteristic Calistoga earthiness
  • Metamorphosis signifies the first vintage after change from cordon to cane pruning of the estate’s 22-year-old vines
  • Chosen from our best barrel of French oak by winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown
  • Sourced from our best block is known for its small berries and dark fruit


Metamorphosis is an aptly chosen name for your 2023 Premiere Napa Valley wine. It captures the reinvigoration of our estate vineyard after a careful conversion from its original cordon-style training to a cane-pruning vine structure. This transformation has already had a profound effect on vine health and fruit quality. Initiated by winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown and adeptly implemented by our vineyard team, this conversion was completed on a three-year timetable in advance of this 2021 harvest. Whether we call this conversion a “metamorphosis” or a “shape-shift” of the vines, the benefits are plentiful - better balance between yields and fruit quality; improved connectivity of roots to clusters; and increased promotion of canopy vigor and cluster formation. These core viticultural characteristics have fully engaged with the ideal growing conditions of the 2021 season and have helped to capture the promise for a big structured and majestic wine. This special wine embodies the belief we share with Thomas that a great wine is rooted in its vineyard source. Thomas has chosen the best barrel of Cabernet Sauvignon from Block 5 of our Winfield Estate Vineyards – a block which consistently produces our best fruit. This “Metamorphosis” will renew your belief in the prestigious reputation of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

Thomas Rivers Brown

Winemaker, THE GRADE Cellars

Winemaker, Thomas Rivers Brown

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. He may be known locally as a gentleman with abundant southern charm and a wonderful family, but he is acclaimed internationally for his extraordinary wines.

Thomas is one of the most exciting talents in winemaking today. Born in Sumter, South Carolina, Thomas developed an interest in wine while attending the University of Virginia. He worked the 1997 harvest for Kent Rasmussen before becoming an assistant winemaker for Ehren Jordan, winemaker at Turley Wine Cellars and consultant to a number of other high profile California wineries.

In addition to THE GRADE Cellars wines which he makes for us at Sundance Ranch in Calistoga, TRB is also dedicated to his own project, Rivers-Marie wine, known for its Pinot Noirs and also made at Sundance. When asked what differentiates the many brands he makes, 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.

In October 2008, Thomas made history as the youngest winemaker to score not just one, but two perfect "100 point" ratings from Robert M. Parker, The Wine Advocate. 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", and a "97 point" Parker score for our 2012 Estate Cabernet.

Thomas' athleticism sustains him through the stress of harvest. And his Aston Martin Rapide allows him to materialize, never late, at vineyard meetings.

Country born: United States

Education: University of Virginia, BA

Years in the wine industry: 15-20 years

Honors / Awards:
Food & Wine's Winemaker of the Year 2010

Winemaking Philosophy:
Starting with the belief that the best wine is made in the vineyard, Thomas pursues a non-interventionist style that eschews technology.

Winery Distribution

THE GRADE Cellars is distributed in the following markets. Please contact the winery directly for the most up-to-date distribution information and to explore commercial opportunities.

THE GRADE Cellars Contact: Thomas Thornton

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