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Trefethen Family Vineyards

2016 The Cowgirl and The Pilot

In 1973, in a quiet agricultural valley north of San Francisco, a young Navy veteran and a former California rodeo queen fell in love over a bottle of wine. Their love blossomed and while she kept riding and he kept flying, together they built a winery and a family, helping to shape the Napa Valley and the American fine wine industry along the way.

Twenty-five years after our first bottling of Merlot, we are proud to release the inaugural vintage of The Cowgirl and The Pilot. Crafted from the finest lots of Merlot from our estate vineyards, this wine is our tribute to our parents and Napa pioneers, Janet and John Trefethen.

- Hailey and Lorenzo Trefethen



  • 2016


  • 100% Merlot


  • Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley

Estate Vineyard

  • 100% Main Ranch


  • September 15-October 7


  • 21 months, 54% new


  • 14.6%

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Much of our winter rain came late, with almost 12 inches in March alone. With a very warm spring, the vines were running about three weeks early heading into the summer months. July and August were cooler than average, with foggy mornings, mild sunny afternoons and no severe heat spells. Vineyard temperatures rose again in September and harvest dates were early by about two weeks. The heat in the spring and again in the fall provided welcome bookends to the mild summer. The grapes benefited from increased hang time and showed fantastic character development.

The Wine

Rich, fragrant notes of dark ripe blackberries, raw cacao, and incense with a touch of violet envelop the nose. Generous on the palate, the velvety texture leads to layers of sumptuous black cherry and dark chocolate beautifully integrated with toasted spice tones of cigar box and anise. This stunning merlot with incredible structure and balance can be appreciated now or in the years to come as it will continue to develop exquisitely.

Food Affinities

Winery Chef Chris Kennedy suggests pairing this incredible wine with rich savory foods that include mushrooms and parmesan cheese. He states this bold merlot with elegant tannins is spectacular when enjoyed with caramelized beef.

Vintages 2016

Trefethen Family Vineyards
Trefethen Family Vineyards