Trefethen Family Products

About Trefethen Family Products
Trefethen Family Vineyards Heart of the Family. Soul of the Estate. One of Napa Valley’s pioneering wineries, Trefethen Family Vineyards crafts distinguished estate grown wines that express the unique spirit of their land, vines, and people. The dedication of the Trefethen family is manifest in every aspect of the operation, from the soil to the table, including sustainable farming, thoughtful winemaking and gracious hospitality. Three Generations In 1968, when Eugene and Catherine Trefethen purchased several parcels of farmland just north of the town of Napa, their property—like much of the valley at the time—contained orchards and hayfields in addition to vineyards. Demonstrating an uncanny vision for the future of the valley, they began to plant vineyards across the estate, focusing on the quality varietals that they enjoyed drinking, including a variety that was rather rare at the time: Chardonnay. In 1973, Eugene and Catherine’s son John Trefethen and his new bride Janet began making wines from the estate, breathing life back into a historic winery on the property. At the Gault Millau Wine Olympics, held in Paris in 1979, the 1976 Trefethen Chardonnay was declared “The Best Chardonnay in the World.” John and Janet built on this early success, finding fans for other Trefethen wines—including Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Riesling, and Merlot—and their wider efforts played a pivotal role in turning the Napa Valley into the world-class wine and food region it is today. In the mid-2000s, John and Janet’s two children—Hailey and Lorenzo Trefethen—became the third generation of the family to steward the estate. Steadfast in their family’s commitment to an ever deepening knowledge of their legendary Oak Knoll District vineyards, Hailey and Lorenzo help lead a team that thoughtfully refines their approach, vintage after vintage, building on a legacy of estate grown wines of remarkable quality and integrity. The Estate Trefethen Family Vineyards is truly a rarity in the Napa Valley: a winery that grows, vinifies, and ages all of its wines entirely on property stewarded by a single family for multiple generations. Built in 1886 and lovingly restored by the family, Trefethen’s historic winery building is on the National Register of Historic Places and sits in the center of the 400-acre Main Ranch. Located just east of Highway 29, in between the towns of Napa and Yountville, this valley-floor property forms the heart of the Oak Knoll District. Notably cooler than up-valley regions like Oakville and Rutherford, Oak Knoll’s proximity to the San Pablo Bay creates an uncommon climate, a “sweet spot” where both early-ripening varieties like Riesling and Chardonnay, as well as late-ripening varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, can thrive. Over the past six decades, Trefethen has carefully identified the ground that best suits each variety, taking advantage of an extraordinary diversity of soils, including the Dry Creek alluvial fan, in order to grow each variety to its full potential. Also in the Oak Knoll District, nestled within a notch in the Mayacamas Mountains, is Trefethen’s exceptional Hillspring property. On hillsides surrounding a spring-fed creek, 40 acres of red Bordeaux varieties take advantage of slightly warmer temperatures and rocky soils to grow powerful, intense fruit that maintains the twin Trefethen trademarks of balance and brightness. To farm both properties, Trefethen employs its own full-time vineyard crew, extending the concept of sustainable farming to include a sustainable workforce. With many employees having literally decades of experience with Trefethen, the vineyard team draws on a remarkable depth of knowledge to produce high quality fruit in the context of each vintage’s unique weather. The Wines Trefethen wines lead with astonishing freshness and verve, a benefit of the cool climate of the Oak Knoll District. Winemaker Bryan Kays aims to express the unique attributes of each vineyard block with transparency and subtlety, emphasizing bright fruit flavors and lively acidity. Signature Series At the heart of Trefethen’s winemaking efforts are their Signature wines: Dry Riesling, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Dragon’s Tooth. These wines can be enjoyed at the winery, as well as discovered in select wine shops and fine restaurants around the world. Vibrant and refreshing, Trefethen has long championed a distinctively dry style of Riesling. Once more common in the Napa Valley, the grape remains a delicious Trefethen eccentricity, marvelously food friendly and a true family favorite. Trefethen is more broadly known for their other Signature white, however: their groundbreaking Chardonnay which helped bring attention to a young Napa Valley when it triumphed in Paris. Remaining true to its roots, this wine is defined in the vineyard, showcasing bright citrus and stone fruit supported by a restrained winemaking approach. Of more recent but now equal renown is the Trefethen Cabernet Sauvignon, the main focus of the family’s efforts in the vineyard over the past few decades. A particularly elegant expression of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, it is a wine of power and poise, integrating dense dark fruit with a lively peppery spiciness. Trefethen Merlot displays a similar winning complexity, with brilliant red fruit playing off of dark earth and floral notes, all wrapped in velvety tannins. The most recent addition to the Signature reds is Dragon’s Tooth, a unique blend based on Malbec and Petit Verdot, where intense, rich fruit melds with dark, brooding, brambly notes to create something utterly unique. Small Lot Series Trefethen’s Small Lot series showcases their smaller production and occasionally experimental wines. These exclusive wines—like the aromatic Sauvignon Blanc, the spicy Cabernet Franc, and the ever-changing OKD blend—await guests who purchase directly from the winery, either in person, over the phone, via club membership, or online. The Legacy Collection The Legacy Collection honors the three generations of Trefethens who continue to inspire the estate. Each wine has a unique story, specific intention, and expressive personality. Together, these distinct wines reflect the very best of Trefethen Family Vineyards. Katie’s Acre draws on an old Wente clone of chardonnay specially selected from Larry Hyde’s vineyard and planted around a majestic walnut tree that Catherine Trefethen cherished. The Cowgirl & The Pilot, honoring Janet and John Trefethen, showcases the family’s genius with Merlot. At the very top perches a Cabernet Sauvignon called HāLo, a blend of the very best barrels from Hillspring and named after Hailey and Lorenzo Trefethen. HāLo has been named “Red Wine of the Year” by Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine an unmatched four times. Looking Ahead The future of Trefethen lies in its people. A dedicated team led by CEO Jon Ruel works diligently to turn the family’s vision into reality. Having started in the vineyard as their viticulturist, Jon has transitioned from cultivating vines to cultivating the success of Trefethen’s employees. Working closely with Hailey and Lorenzo, Jon is charting a path for the company that honors Trefethen’s legacy while embracing its future. Family stewardship remains central to Trefethen, and so Lorenzo and Hailey have taken over leadership roles from their parents, although they are both still involved. At the same time, professional management is expanding, with key recent hires in hospitality and marketing promising to take Trefethen to the next level. Likewise, the estate remains essential. Every vintage is a new data point, and every year leads to more precision in the vineyard, finer detail and more understanding. It also leads to new experiments, as Trefethen builds on its knowledge. This ethos of constant improvement is driven by an innate curiosity and a pioneering spirit that pushes them ever forward. The Tasting Experience A visit to Trefethen Family Vineyards is an extraordinary experience. The long tree-lined driveway is flanked by their estate vineyards and most tastings take place inside the atmospheric historic winery. From the Dry Riesling to HāLo, Trefethen’s wines are bright on the palate and known for being food-friendly and cellar-worthy. To experience these wines right where the grapes are grown, and the wines are crafted is truly memorable. Wine & Food Experiences With wines that are made to go with food, and a long culinary history that includes hosting the Napa Valley Cooking Class for over 20 years, the new wine and food experiences at Trefethen provide the ultimate immersion into the estate. Drawing inspiration from the expansive estate gardens, Winery Chef Chris Kennedy creates dishes that celebrate the integrity of the ingredients while complementing the beauty, balance and brilliance of Trefethen’s wines.
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