In many ways, the origin of Schrader Cellars can be traced back to one day in 2000 when Fred Schrader tasted a barrel sample from a vineyard called To Kalon. That barrel sample sent Fred straight to Andy Beckstoffer’s doorstep – it was the beginning of a fruitful partnership that lasted for more than two decades. The rest, as they say, is history.
Today marks the beginning of a new chapter in the story of Schrader Cellars as To Kalon Vineyard becomes even more integral to our sourcing strategy and vision for what comes next. In 2017, we initiated a new partnership with Robert Mondavi Winery to source from a selection of blocks and clones found among the 455 acres of its To Kalon Vineyard. Beginning with our 2022 vintage, which we will be releasing in a few weeks, 100% of our To Kalon fruit will be sourced from the Robert Mondavi Winery’s To Kalon Vineyard.
“This voyage of discovery has been probably the most exciting part about working with the new blocks and clones from To Kalon Vineyard. You get this incredible diversity of styles within the vineyard based on all the different soil series out there, the different rootstocks and clones. You always get something great, but you get different levels of greatness kind of across the spectrum. I don’t know anyone that gets that same opportunity in a vineyard as good as To Kalon.” – Thomas Rivers Brown
We have been endlessly impressed with the quality of fruit that we have received from this portion of To Kalon, and we are especially proud of the work that the vineyard team at Robert Mondavi has done to convert its To Kalon Vineyard to a certified organic vineyard starting with the 2023 vintage. This is a huge achievement and a monumental milestone for Napa Valley – one that we are thrilled to be a part of.
For six years, Thomas Rivers Brown has been working with Robert Mondavi Winery’s To Kalon, exploring the vineyard and making two of the newer wines in our portfolio from this site. Our Heritage Clone and Monastery Block Cabernet Sauvignons were especially sought out and hand-selected by Thomas Rivers Brown from this portion of To Kalon, and as we have continued to explore this magnificent vineyard, we have found new blocks and clones that we are eager to share with you.
“We started with some obvious sites – the Monastery Block, for one –it is famous. It’s been famous forever. It’s pushed back up against the hills underneath the Carmelite Monastery in Oakville. That is a known A-plus piece of dirt.
Another obvious choice were the blocks of Heritage Clone because I’d never seen anything quite like them. These really unique vines produced wines with just this wild concentration, all this power, all this fruit, but with all this incredible structure and acidity that reminds me a little bit of Old Sparky as a whole.” – Thomas Rivers Brown
Our dedication has always been to sourcing only the best Cabernet Sauvignon that Napa Valley has to offer, and we truly feel that the wines from Robert Mondavi Winery’s To Kalon Vineyard represent the pinnacle of perfection – or at least as close as one can hope to get to it.
We want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and extend our gratitude to Andy Beckstoffer for 21 years of partnership that have spanned across some of Napa’s greatest vintages. We are excited to turn the page on this next chapter of our story and share it with all of you.
Jason Smith, Master Sommelier and General Manager of Schrader Cellars