The Trefethens


Pioneers in the Napa Valley, the Trefethen family are champions of estate grown wines. For three generations, they have carefully tended to their land, employees, and customers, building a loyal following for their legacy of fine, age-worthy wines with a deep integrity of place.


Embodied in their approach is a profound respect for both people and place. This extends beyond the boundary of their estate, knitting them into the fabric of Napa Valley. Over the past 50 years, they helped establish the Napa Valley Agricultural Preserve, co-founded the Napa Valley Grapegrowers, took on leading roles within the Napa Valley Vintners and California Wine Institute, led the effort to build the viticulture and winemaking centers at Napa Valley College, supported the same at UC Davis, hosted the Napa Valley Cooking Class, and established the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley AVA. Their contributions to the wine industry go beyond the wines they make, and help inspire the Napa Valley to live up to its own great expectations.



With a curious palate, a nose for detail, and a deep appreciation of tradition, Hailey Trefethen is a passionate steward of the Trefethen legacy. Often the voice of the family within the company, the well-being of our employees and the state of the estate are foremost in her mind. After the South Napa Quake in 2014, she spearheaded the three-year restoration of our iconic historic winery. Its rebirth is a testament to her dedication. She works closely with Winery Chef Chris Kennedy and the estate gardeners to set up our La Huerta vegetable garden each year, providing fresh produce to our employees, and manages the annual Trefethen salsa competition. She also handles all of our sustainability certifications for both the vineyard and the winery, pushing us to constantly up our game. An active member of the production team, she participates in vineyard and winemaking decisions, and travels frequently to represent the brand. In addition to a stint on the board of the California Wine Institute, Hailey was one of the youngest members ever elected to serve on the Napa Valley Vintners’ Board of Directors, and currently serves on the Napa Valley Grapegrowers’ Marketing & Communications Committee.



Full of creative energy and known for his infectious laugh, Lorenzo Trefethen believes in the power of wine to bring people together. Growing up, the family table was often full of interesting visitors to the Napa Valley, and as an undergraduate at Stanford, he took over instruction of the French Department’s wine tasting course. These early experiences of uniting people around wine inspired Lorenzo to make a life in the family business. Amongst the family, it is Lorenzo who travels most often to support sales, and he works closely with both the marketing and finance departments. His work is evident in the design of our wine labels, brochures, website, and tasting room. Curious and gregarious, he connects us with new audiences and ideas from outside the world of wine and always enjoys hosting guests at the winery. He also sits on the board of the Bay Area Council, a policy organization comprised of Bay Area business leaders.



Co-founders of the winery, Janet & John Trefethen are central figures in the rise of Napa Valley and American fine wine. Along with a handful of other early winemaking pioneers, they helped build the foundations of the Napa phenomenon through decades of passionate work, clear-eyed vision, and joyful hospitality. John was the founding President of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers and later took over the reins at Napa Valley Vintners, where he was President during a critical, transitional time. Janet helped catalyze the development of our local culinary scene by hosting the Napa Valley Cooking Class for 25 years, was the driving force behind the establishment of the Oak Knoll District, and traveled constantly for years, selling not only Trefethen, but Napa Valley. Among many successes, one of their proudest moments was the surprise victory in 1979 when Trefethen Chardonnay was declared “The Best Chardonnay in the World” in Paris, bringing the world’s attention to their efforts and to the wider Napa Valley. Now proud grandparents to a 4th generation, they still serve as ambassadors and advisors to the company.





In 1968, after a storied career at the top of the Kaiser Corporation where he tackled a host of incredible challenges like the mass production of Liberty ships and Willys Jeeps for WWII, the construction of the Bay Bridge and the Hoover Dam, and the development of Kaiser Permanente, providing health care for millions of Americans, Eugene Trefethen created the Trefethen Estate in Napa. His purchase of the land was conditioned on the passage of legislation that set up the first protected area for agriculture in America, the Napa Valley Agricultural Preserve. His visionary action overturned the economic argument against establishing the Preserve, which, because it proposed to limit land use to agriculture, led to widespread fear of depressed land values. In the middle of the estate, around their new home, Eugene’s wife, Catherine, planted a magnificent garden. The consummate hostess, Katie served wine at parties before it was fashionable, and her love for wine was a decisive factor in our planting a vineyard. Even though they are no longer with us, they continue to inspire us, and their presence is particularly felt while sitting in the shade of Katie’s garden, or around Christmas, Gene’s favorite holiday, when we celebrate the completion of another vintage.

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