Trefethen Winery started as a family operation, and remains one today. Eugene
and Katie Trefethen, who shared a love of agriculture, were the visionaries
behind the site. In 1968 they purchased a dilapidated winery along with surrounding
farms to form a 600-acre estate. The Trefethen vineyards were replanted and
soon starting producing high-quality wines. In fact, in 1979, the Trefethen
Chardonnay was voted “Best Chardonnay in the World” at the Gault-Millau Wine
Olympics in Paris. Time magazine came to
Napa Valley to take Eugene’s
picture, who despite being president of a large corporation, had never been
put in such a bright spotlight before.
The Trefethen winery was also the first place in Napa Valley to offer cooking classes. This brought together Katie’s love of cooking, entertaining, and fresh produce. The classes were also an opportunity to feature Trefethen wines and to bring people in to see the Trefethen vineyards. Before all the fancy restaurants came to Napa, there was a family cooking course that showcased the produce from Katie’s five-acre garden. Gene and Katie’s children showed an interest in wine as well and became involved in the family business.
Trefethen Cabernet is especially popular, and it has won its own awards at various wine competitions. Visitors can taste the Trefethen Cabernet and other varieties on a daily-offered tour. The winery is open from 10 am to 4:30 pm and has a few options for visitors. The winery is a National Historic Landmark, and tours take place every morning at 10:30 by appointment only. The tour lasts about 30 minutes and is followed by a tasting of the latest wines. Visitors are also encouraged to stop in for a tasting and currently two options are on offer: An estate tasting is available for $10 a person, and a winemaker’s reserve tasting is available for $25 a person.
Trefethen Winery is located between Napa and Yountville,
making it an easy place to stop during a scenic drive around the valley or a
destination in its own right. As the first winery visitors pass when leaving
Napa, the Trefethen vineyards serve as a gateway to the Napa Valley. Your tasting
may convince you to join one of the wine clubs on offer. Members not only receive
a certain number of shipments per year, but are also granted special discounts
on further purchases and gifts. Even if you’re far away from the Napa Valley,
you can be sipping on a class of Trefethen Cabernet with a membership to one
of their three wine clubs.
The winery was originally constructed in 1886, but after prohibition stopped wine production in the 1920s the vineyard fell into disrepair. The Trefethen family rescued the dilapidated building, and it is now available for visitors to tour. Some artifacts from the original winery are still on display, and you will encounter them on your tour of the historic building. A great introduction to the hospitality of Napa Valley, this winery will also raise the anticipation of the rest of your tour of wine country and is sure to be one of the highlights of your trip to Napa, no matter how many wineries you visit in the end.