Off of Highway 29, just north of the town of Napa sits Trefethen Vineyards and Winery. The winery, built in 1886 is a national historical landmark. The winery’s latest incarnation began in 1968, when Eugene Trefethen, at the height of his career (which included working on the construction of the Hoover Dam and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge), acquired seven farms around the historic Eshcol winery.
Trefethen sources its grapes entirely from its surrounding, square mile-plus, contiguous vineyards of diverse soils, which range from loam to gravel. Initially Trefethen and his son John sold their grapes to Napa Valley’s best wineries. But in 1973 John and his wife Janet started a winery so their grapes could be showcased with an identity of their own. They renovated the old winery, which is the only surviving example of what was once the most common winery architecture in Napa—a three-story wooden gravity-flow winery, where a gentle, horse-powered elevator delivered the grapes to the top floor. Gravity then ensured a smooth flow of the juices to complete the winemaking processes on the floors below.
Vineyard management at Trefethen