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, and buy the boot and other small batch, single-run leather products.
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.
Inspired by wine country, Whiskey and Merlot are made from full-grain, ultra-soft Argentinian Neymar leather. Sienna is made from water-resistant Rusan suede. The first 100 pairs purchased will receive a complimentary wine tasting at Post Parade in Calistoga, CA, redeemable before Jan. 1, 2025. (Story continues below.)
Thomas Rivers Brown explains why The Calistoga is a perfect fit for wine country, from the traction it provides on rugged terrain, to the style it affords in the tasting room.
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. 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, demonstrated through the button below.
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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. At the point that the grapes taste like liquid velvet this is a signal that harvest is imminent. 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.
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.
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. 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
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.
Taking care of your footwear is critical to its life. We have identified these main products in order to keep your pair looking fresh and healthy:
- Blackrock Leather 'N Rich: Our best-selling leather conditioner; conditions and hydrates leather. Good for eliminating scuffs and creases, and a faster break-in time.
- Pure Polish (pigmented and non-pigmented polishes): Colored polish revises the color in your footwear and belts. High Shine Boot Wax will keep your footwear looking its best without affecting the color.
- Otter Wax Leather Sealant: seals out and repels moisture, keeping your leather healthy. Reapply when water no longer beads after it hits treated spots.
When taking care of suede footwear, these products can help protect and clean:
- Shoe Keeper - Suede Protector Spray: Easy-to-use spray protects your fine suede and nubucks from stains and damage.
- Otter Wax Suede Cleaner: A nourishing alcohol-free treatment suitable for use on all types of suede and nubuck to remove stains, blemishes, and odors.
- Tampico Suede Brush: A versatile brush that's great to have since it can be used to clean a wide variety of fabrics, leathers, and suedes. Natural bristles are relatively stiff, allowing to scrub away dirt and debris, but soft enough to not scratch leather or pull at the threads of fabric.
Here are some other helpful accessories:
- Cedar Shoe Trees: our shoe trees help keep your footwear looking its best by absorbing moisture between wears, and during longer periods of storage.
- HELM Shop Rag: Made of 100% indigo cotton, this cloth is a great companion when using waxes, polishes, and sealants.
We conveniently recommend the best blend of care products for each pair of footwear after you add it to your cart. Note: pop-up blockers must be disabled in order to see HELM's recommendations.
Shipping, Exchanges, & Returns
We offer free standard shipping on all U.S. domestic footwear orders, or any order placed that exceeds $50.
HELM will gladly accept exchanges on unworn and unused HELM footwear within 30 days of purchase and will cover the cost of shipping for all U.S. domestic orders. If you wish to make an exchange, please visit: helm.happyreturns.com and select the "Exchange" option. Choosing this option will allow you to tell us what you'd like to have sent in place of our original order.
- All exchanges must include a proper return authorization number on the shipping box in order to be processed. The return information will be assigned at helm.happyreturns.com.
- Exchanges will ship once the original purchase being returned arrives at the HELM Returns Office.
- Footwear must be unworn and in perfect condition in original shoe box. If boots have been worn, we are unable to accept an exchange.
- Gift cards are not eligible to be returned or exchanged.
- Free shipping on all U.S. domestic orders.
- Customer is responsible for shipping and customs on all international exchanges.
HELM will gladly accept returns on unworn and unused HELM products within 30 days of purchase & will cover the return shipping on all U.S. domestic orders over $50 by providing a prepaid return label. If you wish to make a return, please visit: helm.happyreturns.com
- All returns must include a proper return authorization number on the shipping box in order to be processed. The RMA number will be assigned at helm.happyreturns.com.
- Footwear purchase may be refunded within 30 days of the purchase date on the receipt.
- Refunds will be issued in the form of payment used to make the original purchase. Refunds can take up to 3-5 business days to reflect on credit or debit card accounts depending on the bank associated with the card.
- Footwear must be unworn and in perfect condition in original shoe box. If footwear has been worn, we are unable to accept a return.
- Any original shipping costs will not be refunded although we do offer free return shipping on all U.S. domestic orders over $50 by downloading a prepaid shipping label through our returns and exchange portal.
- Customer is responsible for shipping and customs on all international returns.
- Items marked "Final Sale" are ineligible to be returned.
Our Loyalty Program
The HELM Crew is free to join, and it's your ticket to savings, exclusive access, sneak peeks, and unique experiences. You start earning Crew Points with your first purchase.
Every dollar spent earns you at least one Crew Point. We'll give you 100 points just for signing up, and more points for engaging with the community.
Being in the Crew isn't just about saving. You'll be among the first to know about sales, new releases, and exclusive events.
The perks get bigger at our VIP HELMSMEN Tier, including a password-protected private shopping experience, wear-testing raffles, and design feedback on future products.
Footwear for Life
We make Footwear for Life. Styles designed for every occasion, and made to last. But we aren't just here to sell boots and shoes. We are in endless pursuit of impeccable design and unmistakable, life-defining experiences; the coolest places, the most delicious food, the perfect soundtrack for every moment, fascinating people, and the partners who share in our pursuit to find these things.
There are more than 153 steps involved in making a pair of HELM footwear, performed by 14 master cobblers. We're relentless about craftsmanship and have spent years refining our process. Every pair of HELM reflects the dedication we have towards our craft and customers.
Everything we make is inspired by a story and a place. We want our footwear to be as long-lasting as the culture that inspired it, and we combine timeless construction methods with premium leather and materials to create footwear built with a purpose, and shoes made to endure the years, for people who take care of them. HELM footwear is meant to be worn for life.
We want every HELM purchase to be deeply meaningful to each customer, and our commitment to excellence lasts beyond checkout. We are here to serve you with unparalleled customer service and inspire you with tailored customer experiences, and share with you the things that inspire us, like we do in our iconic weekly Saturday Six.
Our goal since day one has been to create footwear that is versatile, timeless, and functional — able to be worn in the workshop or boardroom. You can spot every pair of HELM by its signature white midsole.