The Vineyard in Calistoga

The Calistoga: Comfort for the Harvest

Our newest release, The Calistoga, is a love letter to wine country. We teamed up with famed winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown and Post Parade Wines to make the launch special. HELM and Post Parade both share a passion for high-quality craftsmanship. Below you can learn more about The Calistoga's origins.

The lack of consistency is what keeps Thomas Rivers Brown coming back to the vineyard, year after year. People like to compare vintages, but the truth is that no two wines are alike. The same is true for premium leather; no two pairs of boots are the same, and each pair becomes unique to the wearer.

Thomas Rivers Brown has received more 100-point scores for his wines than any other American winemaker. He walked us through the process on the first day of harvest in Calistoga, CA, a city in Napa Valley and the namesake for our newest boot.

Leather Care for The Calistoga

The Calistoga comes in three styles: Merlot, Sienna, and Whiskey. The Calistoga Sienna is made of a water-resistant suede leather and for that we recommend suede protector. You can also clean your new Sienna boot with Otter Wax Suede Cleaner.

For The Calistoga Merlot and Whiskey, we recommend Blackrock Leather 'N Rich, our most popular boot care product that reinfuses oils into your leather. You can also use Pure Polish High Shine Wax if you like to keep your boots gleaming. To seal out moisture, we recommend Otter Wax Boot Wax.

Small Batch Calistoga Companion

Inspired by our visit to Calistoga, we created a single-run leather corkscrew pouch, which comes with an elegant rosewood-handled corkscrew. Under 50 were made available, and this item will never be reproduced. Our goal is to work with local artisans to bring their items into our store in small batches, or create small-batch mementos that are useful to the places named after each style.

Perfect for the Vineyard

The demands of the harvest are real. During the season, teams often work 12-14-hour days for two months straight. Traction and comfort are critical.

Looking for Velvet

Before deciding to pick berries, there is a frequent taste test. As the harvest approaches, it's common to taste a combination of water, acid and sugar. Commitment to the craft is essential, though, because the very next time you could come out and taste liquid velvet, and that signals when you should begin to harvest the berries. For 2023, Thomas Rivers Brown expected an incredibly high-quality year, based on the weather. Loose clusters and small berries lead to a nicely-concentrated, aromatic, and palate-dense wine.

The Peterson Vineyard in Calistoga

Stealing from the Barrel

Thieving is the method that allows winemakers to sample wine as it is aging, without compromising or disturbing the quality of the barrel. A wine thief is in the baster family of tools, and after unsealing a barrel, the thief is inserted into the barrel to extract the wine, which then is placed into a glass for tasting.

Thieving Wine From The Barrel

Silent Victories

Those who have a short-term memory in the wine business are more apt to thrive, but sometimes forget to take a breath when something exceptional happens. Thomas and his Team try to make themselves pause when a celebration is in order, but the stakes are so high that it comes more in the form of relief, before moving onto the next season or task. 

Post Parade Wines

Last year, one of the wines Thomas makes received the accolade of Number One Wine of 2022 from The Wine Spectator. This moment is something he wishes he had taken more time to celebrate. But instead of basking over a prolonged period, Thomas said, "usually it's like okay, great, now what's next?"

Letting Go of Last Year in Calistoga

The pick decision is the biggest decision you make in the wine's life, on the vine or in the cellar. But it's not always the vintner and team who gets to decide; in harsher years, the absolute perfect time never comes.


2022 was a harder year for wine. The weather did not cooperate, temperatures were hot, all the fruit was ready at once, and it wasn't even necessarily ripe.


Thomas and his team had trouble digesting the fact they were babysitting the vines for a whole year, and six days of heat completely took all of the decision-making out of their hands.


This year is telling a different, potentially high-scoring story.


Thomas began a full-time consultant winemaker with the harvest of 2001, and Post Parade Wines became his seventh wine project in Napa since the inaugural vintage in 2010. Post Parade sources from some of the most coveted vineyards in Napa Valley, focusing on site-specific Cabernet Sauvignons and Cabernet Franc.


The current harvest is in the homestretch, with all purple fruit, and Thomas and Team frequently check in on the vines every week.

Thomas Rivers Brown walking
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