The Grapes and Who Gets to Play with Them . . . A Little

At Trefethen Vineyards, we grow wine. No, that doesn't mean you'll see rows and rows of bottles sprouting from the soil in our vineyard. When we say we are wine growers we mean that the identity and quality and consistency of our wine come primarily from the grapes and where they live, not from any secret winemaking recipe. The natural elements -- soil, sun, rain and wind -- are really the winemakers. We're the assistants.

The Vineyards: Trefethen Vineyards has the distinction of being the largest contiguous vineyard in the Napa Valley under single, private ownership. The 850 acres of land, 600 planted to vines, allow the Trefethens complete control over an extremely high quality supply of grapes for their wines. And, as every good cook knows, the better the ingredients -- the better the meal will be.

The Trefethens also have the luxury of combining intense, hillside grapes from their 50-acre vineyard in the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains, with the charm and finesse of grapes from the winery vineyard on the Valley floor.

Unlike most wineries in Napa Valley, Trefethen Vineyards has been farmed by the same family, the Baldinis since 1968. Tony Baldini replanted the overgrown, dilapidated property and managed the vineyard until 1990 when his son Steve took on the job. The Baldinis have learned the idiosyncrasies of the estate over the years, and coax the highest quality of ripe fruit from every block.

The Winemakers: Working with Winegrower Mother Nature, and Vineyard Manager Steve Baldini, are David Whitehouse and Peter Luthi.

David Whitehouse has been the Winemaster at Trefethen Vineyards since 1975. The new kid on the block is Swiss-born Winemaker Peter Luthi who has been on board since 1983. There are few wineries who can boast the tenure of this wine making team.

The goal of our winemakers is to best express the character of what our vineyard gives us. Trefethen wine uses oak as a seasoning, filtration is kept to a minimum, and the chardonnay undergoes very little secondary, malo-lactic fermentation.

Sounds like our winemakers don't have much to do, right? Consider this. The less you process your fruit, the more its quality can shine through -- but so can winemaking mistakes. Peter and David have little room for error. Proof is in the bottle.

Trefethen Vineyards / 1160 Oak Knoll Avenue, PO Box 2460 / Napa, CA 94558 / 707-255-7700

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