September 20th, 2012

The story that the Trefethens, of Trefethen Winery, tell about themselves is distinctly American. When the Trefethen family decided to buy land in the Napa Valley in the 70s, they say, it was an “agricultural backwater” and they were thought crazy for their dreams of a winery. They make the point by saying that there were “fewer than 20 operational wineries” in the area when they came in. Not such a small number; they weren’t quite the inventors of the idea of wine in Napa that they might like us to believe. Still, it was early, we can grant them that.

Next they would have us believe that John, eldest son of the founder, developed a passion for fermentation that led to his blowing up a friend’s college dorm room attempting a batch of cider, but that a mere three years later this same plucky youth was the mastermind behind a Chardonnay that was named best in the world at the wine Olympics in Paris. That’s right, in three short years, this mere boy outdid centuries of French winemaking tradition. I wonder if he had any help? Still, the award is real and both winery and boy were very young.

Now that boy is the winery’s head and his children work below him. One family, one estate, one passion is their motto. It’s the Trefethens against the world. I, personally, don’t understand why we Americans must declare that we’ve invented everything that we do, totally ignoring all the learning that we’ve leaned on along the way. Still, it’s a good wine and you, our guests, can come drink it for free in our bar every night that you spend with us.

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