The Main Ranch
As one of Napa Valley’s few remaining family wine estates, Trefethen Vineyards has never purchased a single outside grape. Located in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, our estate vineyard is nestled in a verdant landscape of vines at the cooler, southern end of Napa Valley.
During the 1980s, a root louse known as phylloxera, which had devastated Northern California vineyards a century earlier, re-emerged and began a rapid decimation of the world-renowned vineyards of Napa and Sonoma counties.
As a result, we planted over 10,000 new vines, utilizing the experience we’d gained over the previous 20 years and implementing many of the successful vineyard experiments we had conducted during that time. In truth, phylloxera provided an opportunity to re-assess what we had originally planted and where. Aided by winemakers David Whitehouse Jr. and Peter Luthi, we carefully researched which varietals, rootstocks and clones to plant in the different sections of our revitalized vineyard, initiating a costly ten-year project that by the first years of the 21st century had both literally and figuratively borne fruit.
Director of Viticulture Jon Ruel has spearheaded a further revolution in the vineyard. Thinking more like a horticulturist, Jon has segmented the vineyard into five dozen different ‘gardens’ delineated by variety, soil type, trellising system and irrigation regimen. Jon and his crew lavish extreme attention on each block, extrapolating ideal pruning, shoot positioning, leaf removal, cluster thinning and irrigation practices from the needs of each vine.
As a result, Trefethen now farms 63 distinct vineyard blocks, encompassing nine different grape varieties (Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Viognier), 10 different types of rootstock, and 49 different clones (genetic variations of a grape variety), including 13 of Chardonnay and 10 of Cabernet Sauvignon.
This degree of specialization and intense focus on individual blocks maximizes the potential of each of our varieties and creates the foundation for producing consistently superb, world-class wines.