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Walnut Creek Magazine

A Third Trefethen Generation Makes Its Mark with New Tasting Experiences

Aug 15, 2019 09:03PM ● By Fran Miller

Katie's Acre at Trefethen Family Vineyards


One of Napa’s true pioneering wineries, Trefethen Family Vineyards was founded in 1968 by Eugene and Katie Trefethen at a time when fewer than 20 operational wineries existed in the Napa Valley. Their initial intent was to sell the grapes grown on their 600 acres, but son John and his wife Janet had other ideas. In 1973, John produced Trefethen Vineyards’ first commercial wine, and just three years later, the winery’s 1976 Chardonnay earned ‘Best Chardonnay in the World’ honors at the 1979 Gault Milau World Wine Olympics in Paris, an accomplishment that put Trefethen Vineyards on the global fine wine map. 

Lorenzo Trefethen

Now, nearly six decades later, a third generation stands ready and poised to manage the winery’s operations. Brother and sister duo Lorenzo and Hailey Trefethen (son and daughter of John and Janet) grew up in the middle of the family vineyard and each traveled extensively with their parents throughout the world’s leading wine regions. To say that wine, and specifically Trefethen wine, is in their blood is an understatement. Lorenzo officially joined the winery in 2007; his current duties include marketing and sales, with a focus on promoting direct and export sales of Trefethen wines. Hailey currently wears a variety of hats, from marketing to production, and even beekeeper of the estates bee hives. She currently works in viticulture and winemaking operations, and regularly makes her meals from the property’s bountiful gardens over which she keeps a watchful eye for ripening tomatoes and squash.

Hailey and Lorenzo often hatch schemes to make life at Trefethen even more exciting, and with the fall introduction of two new tasting experiences, they’ve more than succeeded. Starting in October, Trefethen wine fans can enjoy the Taste the Estate and the Legacy Tasting experiences, both of which highlight their estate grown wines, culinary expertise, and the bountiful on-site fruit and vegetable gardens that provide winery chef Chris Kennedy with everything from fava beans, blackberries, and edible flowers, to corn and 12 pepper varieties.

Taste the Estate

Taste the Estate pairing

For guests looking to immerse themselves in the flavors of Trefethen, Taste the Estate provides an educational and fun way to experience all of Trefethen’s bounty - from garden to glass. The 90-minute experience is offered daily at 3pm for $100 per person and features four wines, each matched with Chef Kennedy’s pairings. A sample menu features Seared Pacific Scallop with Cantaloupe Emulsion and Sunflower Granola, Yakitori Grilled Hen of the Woods Mushroom with Cabernet Tare and Cured Egg Yolk and Air Bread 'Tartine' with A5 Wagyu Beef and Aged California Cheddar. Fully customized versions of this tasting are also available, starting at $125 per person, by appointment.

Legacy Tasting

The new by-appointment-only Legacy Tasting is personally hosted by the congenial Lorenzo whose deep and frequent laugh is infectious. This tasting showcases Trefethen’s smallest production Legacy Collection wines alongside seasonal pairings from Chef Kennedy. Guests enjoy a tour of the Main Ranch vineyard, including a stop at Katie’s Acre, the source of the winery’s limited-production age-worthy Harmony Chardonnay. After returning to the Villa, the family’s former home surrounded by gorgeous gardens, the tasting continues with the inaugural vintage of The Cowgirl and The Pilot Merlot, Hailey and Lorenzo’s tribute wine to their parents, and HāLo, the winery’s outstanding flagship Cabernet Sauvignon named by John and Janet in honor of Hailey and Lorenzo, along with pairings from Chef Aken. Menu highlights include Ricotta and Estate Tarragon Crème Brûlée, THE Morel Mushroom ‘Taco’ and Spooner Rice + HāLo Risotto, with Charred Garden Beets. The Legacy Tasting is offered for a minimum of four people for $175 per person by prior appointment only.

Legacy Tasting within Katie's Acre


Hailey Trefethen

For both Taste the Estate and Legacy Tasting, guests are welcomed with a taste of Trefethen’s 2018 Dry Riesling and a walk through the recently restored winery whose original structure dates back to the 19thcentury. Both new culinary experiences launch in October and will be held in the Dining Room at the Villa, where the Trefethen family gathered for holiday meals when it was Gene and Katie Trefethen’s home. 

To reserve, call the winery at 707.255.7700.

Photos by Robb McDonough 


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