Extended Family

 

The concept of family at Trefethen includes an “extended family” of employees. As a vertically integrated estate winery, all of our employees take great pride in the finished wines. The entire process, from the soil to the bottle, happens right here on our estate. The average tenure of Trefethen employees, across the winery and vineyards, is eight years, reflecting an uncommon level of engagement and loyalty.

JON RUEL, CEO

 

Originally hired in 2004 for the role of viticulturist, focusing on the quality of our grapes, Jon’s impact on our family business has been immense. Early on, he coined the phrase “farming in real time” to reflect his approach – giving every part of the vineyard the attention it needs, at just the right moment, as the characteristics of each unique vintage play out during the growing season. Over time, Jon has shifted his attention from cultivating vines to cultivating the success of our employees and now manages our entire operation, from the soil to the table. Although Jon’s route to becoming our CEO is unusual, his path is consistent with our history and our business model – we are rooted in the vineyard. Jon has previously served as President of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers and as a member of the advisory council of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, a regional agency entrusted with regulating air quality across all nine counties of the Bay Area.

JOSEPH CUSIMANO, VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES

 

Joe joined Team Trefethen in 2001 and has worked closely with the Trefethen family in directing all aspects of the winery’s domestic and international trade sales. He plays an integral role in the company’s executive management team by contributing to strategic sales planning and company growth initiatives. During his over 30-year career in the wine industry, Joe has held senior management positions in key segments of the wine business including: retail trade, wine and spirits export, wholesale distribution, and national and regional sales positions with notable wineries in California.

BRYAN KAYS, WINEMAKER

 

A student of the vineyard first, Bryan joined Trefethen in 2006 as a viticulture intern. Fascinated with estate grown wines and impressed by the work of Peter Luthi and David Whitehouse, Trefethen’s Winemaker and Winemaker Emeritus at the time, Bryan worked his way into the cellar and eventually up to the position of Winemaker in 2015. In keeping with the Trefethen family’s legacy of vineyard-driven wines, Bryan is passionate about the unique ability of wine grapes to translate a sense of place. He constantly strives to deepen his understanding of the estate vineyards and the idiosyncrasies of the winemaking process as it occurs in Trefethen’s cellar, in order to create wines of great integrity that are balanced, full of nuance, delicious, and true to the grape and the place that they are grown.

CHRIS KENNEDY, WINERY CHEF

 

In 2002, after a decade of cooking in fine restaurants across the country, Chris Kennedy moved to Napa where he noticed customers often behaved a bit differently. Rather than starting with what they were going to eat, and picking a wine to go with the meal, many people in Napa arrived at the restaurant with a bottle of wine in hand, and then picked dishes to pair with the wine. He soon opened a restaurant and then a catering company focused on creating dishes to pair with specific wines – still a surprisingly uncommon focus of cuisine in wine country. It was here that he met Janet Trefethen and started working with our wines. In 2017, he was hired as Trefethen’s first full-time chef. Fueled by a deeply rooted desire to create transparent and transcendent cuisine, he has applied the family’s estate grown philosophy to his food, working to create memorable culinary experiences that feature seasonal produce from the estate garden, in perfect pairings with the wines. In the combination of his food and our wines, you can truly taste the estate.

Featured Team Member

BRENDAN BRAMBILA, DIRECTOR OF VITICULTURE

 

Brendan’s passion for viticulture began long before he joined Trefethen in 2009. The son of a Napa Valley winemaker, he was immersed in the wine business at a young age. This led him to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo where he graduated with a degree in Agricultural Business, with an emphasis on wine and viticulture. He has worked in vineyards throughout Napa and the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County and understands how terroir–the sum total of all the environmental factors affecting a vineyard–plays a crucial role in the crafting of world-class wines. Brendan has a deep appreciation of the unique growing conditions that allow multiple varieties to thrive in our estate vineyards, and he is dedicated to optimizing their quality and distinctive character.

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