Trinchero Family Wines — Quietly Making its Mark in the Napa Valley


Written by:

Joe Becerra

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When you think of big wine companies or conglomerates in the Napa Valley, most likely Trinchero Family Wines would not be your first thought. Yet this family-owned winery, with Bob Trinchero as the patriarch, has been steadily gaining ground in the California wine scene and especially in the Napa Valley. Within the past couple of years, Trinchero has acquired Folie a Deux winery and Napa Cellars. These two wineries share a tasting room in Yountville on Highway 29 right next to Mustard’s Restaurant. Folie a Deux’s original winery location and tasting room is now the site of the Trinchero Napa Winery. At this location, Trinchero is building a 20-million-dollar winery complex that will rival that of any winery in the Napa Valley. It is sure to be a favorite visitor attraction.

Trinchero Family’s first winery in the Napa Valley was Sutter Home. This is the winery that launched the family into fame and fortune. In 1975 at the Sutter Home winery, a mistake occurred in the fermentation of Zinfandel resulting in a rather sweet “White Zinfandel.” The winemaker, Bob Trinchero, decided to bottle the wine and within a short time it became immensely popular. The demand was so high that it was said to have saved many a vineyard of old vine Zinfandel. These Zinfandel vineyards were set to be replanted with more popular varietals. Now they would be needed as other wineries sought to jump on the White Zinfandel bandwagon. The sweet White Zinfandel fad was short lived but long enough to give Trinchero a windfall of cash.

On our recent visit to the Napa Valley, we visited the Folie a Deux/Napa Cellars tasting room and the Trinchero Napa Valley winery north of St. Helena. At the Folie a Deux/Napa Cellars visitors will find a full range of wines to taste. There are a couple of options for tasting, and one good thing to do here is a side-by-side comparison with similar varietals of the Folie a Deux wines and the Napa Cellars wines. The winemaker is the same for both labels. The tasting room has an expansive picnic area that gives a picture-perfect view of the vineyards.

Winemaking facility nears completion
Winemaking facility nears completion

Just past St. Helena, you will see the entrance for the Trinchero Napa Winery. If you stop in at Folie a Deux/Napa Cellars, be sure to tell your host you are planning to visit Trinchero. When we did, our host gave us his card for a free tasting at Trinchero. The tasting room is housed in the old Folie a Deux building but around it construction is taking place at a fever pitch. Much of the buildings seem near completion, but we were told it would be almost two years before the entire project would be completed. The plans call for a state-of-the-art winery, a culinary center, and an educational center. There will be a hospitality center in addition to a new tasting room. A winemaker has recently been hired to concentrate solely on this label. The wines are all single vineyard wines and sell in the range of $30 to $50.

Two Trinchero employees get set to tour the construction area
Two Trinchero employees get set to tour the construction area
  • Joe Becerra

    Joe Becerra has been traveling to wine country and enjoying wine since 1965. He is a retired educator, and now have the time the opportunity to share his wine travel experiences through this Website.