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Fred Schrader founded Schrader Cellars in 1998 with a goal of making the best Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon possible. Since then, the brand has gained renown for its incredible vineyard sourcing (Beckstoffer To Kalon, Las Piedras, and Georges III) and remarkably gifted winemaker, Thomas Brown. Since its inception, Schrader has achieved a total of thirty-five 100-point scores from the likes of The Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator, Jeb Dunnuck, and James Suckling.
In 1988, Fred Schrader was a thriving dealer in the world of art and antiques when his good friend and Christie's auctioneer, Brian Cole, invited him to the Napa Valley Wine Auction. A lover of wine and adventure, Fred happily accepted the invitation and soon found himself enjoying delicious wines while spending time with some of the valley’s most notable founders.
Fred tasted a barrel sample of Cabernet in 2000 that changed the course of his life. On a quest to produce wine with similar depth and uniqueness, he discovered the source of the extraordinary grapes to be the Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard in Oakville. Fred knew he had found the source for great Cabernet, and he set out to secure grapes from this remarkable estate.
This quest led Fred directly to the office of legendary grape grower W. Andrew Beckstoffer. The partnership began with a small, but stunning selection of vine rows in the historic Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard. As the years clipped by, we expanded our reach in the vineyard, and today the finest blocks are dedicated to growing Schrader Cabernet.
Fred approached Thomas Rivers Brown about joining his new Cabernet project. Thomas had just moved to the valley and showed a great passion for winemaking. The biggest challenge — he had never made a bottle of Cabernet, only Zinfandel. Where others may have been daunted, Fred saw this as an opportunity.
Fred and Thomas worked on the style of wine Fred hoped to achieve — big, fruit-forward, and abundant with exceptional purity as well as enduring structure. They both consider the 2001 vintage to be the first sign of the great things to come. The rest, as they say, is history.
We are beyond honored by our historical achievements and invite you, our most loyal friends, to share in the success we have found through your enduring support.
– Fred Schrader
Drawing from his fine art background and the knowledge that pedigree sustains throughout the process, Fred knew that to create the finest wines he had to begin with the finest grapes. As true today as it was when Fred started Schrader Cellars, our benchmark wines are made from grapes grown exclusively on Napa Valley’s most prestigious and historic vineyard estates.
Originally planted by pioneer Hamilton Crabb in 1868, To Kalon – meaning 'highest beauty' in Greek – is a noble first growth estate in Oakville that has established itself as the preeminent source of Napa Valley’s finest grapes. The vineyard is defined by its high mineral content and exceptional drainage, offering optimal north-south sun exposure by day with cool coastal breezes at night that we feel is the ideal environment for growing our Cabernet Sauvignon.
Located in the legendary Rutherford Bench on the eastern side of the Napa Valley, the Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard boasts a remarkable history that dates back to its founding by winemaking pioneer and namesake Georges de Latour in 1928.
The grapes for our Schrader GIII Cabernet are grown in a small, specific section of this vineyard, formerly a natural riverbed, and it is here that the wine finds its compelling character and structure. The unique gravel and rock soil composition combined with the gentle sloping contour of this block ideally stresses the vines and produces stunning fruit with phenomenal concentration. We truly feel that we have found the magical 'sweet spot' of this historic vineyard estate.
The Las Piedras Vineyard, a name that translates to 'little stones' in Spanish, is an exceptional rolling estate in the St. Helena district of the Napa Valley. This breathtaking estate boasts a viticultural lineage of more than 150 years, dating back to the 1840s when it was planted by early settler Edward Bale.
The most northern of our vineyard sources, the region receives the warmest daytime temperatures, yet still receives the benefits of the cool marine influences in the late afternoon and evenings.
This exceptional vineyard is defined by its unique terroir, where the vines contour the gentle slopes and live in a soil of rocky, gravelly loam perfectly suited to growing Cabernet Sauvignon. The resulting fruit is remarkably dense and concentrated, producing massive wines with lush black and blue fruit character, elegant minerality, as well as magnificent structure.
Located on the hillside just below the Mondavi residence in the Stags Leap District, Wappo Hill Vineyard runs down the hillside to the valley floor. This change in elevation allows for the grapes grown in this vineyard to have very different characteristics. The hillside vines, due to their struggle to grow in the rocky soil, lend themselves to the more formidable nature of Cabernets. Whereas the vines on the valley floor produce grapes that are rich, silky, and elegant.
Located on the Northwest side of the To Kalon Vineyard, the Monastery Block is primarily Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyard is defined by its high mineral content and exceptional drainage, offering optimal north-south sun exposure by day with cool coastal breezes at night that we feel is the ideal environment for growing our Cabernet Sauvignon.