Truchard Vineyards

About

Truchard Vineyards is a small family owned winery in the Carneros region of Napa Valley that produces critically acclaimed wines of great personality.

Location Description

Located in the heart of Napa, California.

Features

  • Our Wines are 100% Grown, Bottled and Produced at Truchard Vineyards

Additional Information

  • Meeting / Conference Facilities:
  • Caves:
  • Wedding Facilities:
  • Picnic Facilities:
  • Dog Friendly:
  • Winery Tours:
  • Wine Tasting:
  • Art or Architecture:
  • Organic / Biodynamic:
  • Awards:
  • Wine Club:
  • Lodging / Bed & Breakfast:

Average Bottle Price

$ 33

Winemaker

Sal De Ianni serves as Winemaker for Truchard Vineyards. Originally from a suburb of Milwaukee, Sal entered the wine industry through a strange twist of fate: while completing his graduate degree in Analytical Chemistry at Northwestern University, he decided to enroll in wine appreciation classes in order to break away from the complexities of chemistry. Six months later, the wine courses ended up being more compelling, and ultimately he decided to pursue a job in the wine industry.

After completing his M.S. in Enology at the University of California Davis, Sal realized that his foundation in chemistry, coupled with his passion for winemaking, would enable him to produce wines of exceptional quality. He responded to an advertisement in the Napa Valley Register posted by Tony and Jo Ann seeking a winemaker, and has been with the Truchard family ever since.

Over the years, Sal has developed a thorough understanding of the unique terroir of the Carneros appellation and allows the vineyard to speak through the wines he makes. His keen instinct and in-depth knowledge of the vineyard and cellar enable him to show the distinct qualities of the estate. He works closely with the Truchard family to develop exceptional wines year after year.

History

The Truchard family wine tradition began in the U.S. over a century ago. In 1887, Jean Marie Truchard emigrated from a small town outside of Lyon, with his brother, Father Anthony Marie Truchard, a Catholic priest. Together they established a vineyard and winery on a 500-acre plot of land in Southeast Texas. During that time, phylloxera was devastating the vineyards in Europe. Although no formal records exist, it is possible that Jean Marie and Anthony left because this root louse caused the grape vines in France to quickly shrivel and die. This may also have influenced the brothers to plant a more disease-resistant grape called Herbemont that was originally grown in the northern part of Africa, a French colony at the time. In those days, Texas was recognized for viticulture, given its “can-do” spirit and local botany knowledge. Despite these facts and their best efforts, the Truchard winery, founded just outside Houston, did not survive prohibition or the Texas heat; however, the old barn that housed it still stands today.

Fortunately for the family, Jean Marie left something much more important -- his farming legacy. Soil ran deep through the Truchard bloodline. Although the vineyards were converted for cattle grazing, Jean Marie’s grandson Tony eventually inherited his love of farming and pioneering spirit. Born in Texas along with his six brothers and sisters, Tony was taught at a young age how to cultivate the land in the same tradition. Like most children reared on a rural farm however, he yearned to escape to college and enrolled at the University of Texas Austin. Subsequently, he decided to go to medical school at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.

In August of 1963 just before starting medical school, Tony attended a dance in La Grange, Texas, where he met Jo Ann Wessels who was there with her parents. After dating for a year, they were married and upon graduation from medical school, Tony enrolled as an officer in the army to pay for his medical education.

In 1972, Tony and his wife Jo Ann received orders to move to South Korea. He had planned to bring their growing family of five along with him but fate intervened. Jo Ann, who was 8 ½ months pregnant at the time with their fourth child, slipped on a grape while grocery shopping and broke her knee. Given these circumstances, Tony’s commanding officer, reconsidered and stationed them at a base in Herlong, California instead.

In October of 1972, Tony, Jo Ann, and family arrived in Herlong and had to report to headquarters at the Presidio in San Francisco. After the meeting, Tony suggested taking a drive through the Napa Valley. Upon seeing all the vineyards, Tony thought it would be interesting to buy some land, plant a vineyard, and then return to Texas to practice medicine. He used his savings to purchase an abandoned prune orchard in Carneros, a region in the southernmost part of Napa that was mere pastureland at the time (The word “Carneros” is in fact Spanish for sheep or ram, which were the predominant farms in the area).

The site looked ideal with 20 acres and a perfect Southwest exposure, but Tony was intrigued as to why no one was planting grapes in this area, considering it was only 10 miles away from established vineyards. The local experts with whom he inquired all had the same response: it was too cool to ripen quality grapes, and, more importantly, the shallow clay hillsides made little ground water available for maintaining a vineyard. In Carneros, the little existing groundwater tended to be salty because of its proximity to the bay. Since Napa traditionally relied on groundwater for irrigation in the 1960s and 1970s, everyone thought that the clay soils in Carneros would never work for a vineyard.

But Tony, never easily discouraged, enlisted a soil conservationist and developed a plan. The traditional practice at the time had been to use overhead sprinklers for watering. Since he didn’t have enough water for this method, he decided to use the clay soils to create reservoirs and trap the rainwater, then use it sparingly to grow the grapes. In doing so, he was one of the early adapters of drip irrigation, a practice that was used in Israel for desert farming but not known in California yet. With this approach, he discovered that the diverse soils and cool climate of Carneros made for grapes of extraordinary quality once the grapes received water. On that first 20 acres, he planted Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Riesling.

Tony’s persistence led him to become one of the pioneers of the soon-to-be Carneros AVA. He continued with his profession as a physician and opened a private medical practice, in Reno, Nevada, where a high demand existed for doctors. During the week, he practiced medicine and on Friday evenings, Tony and Jo Ann would pack their six children into their Chevy Suburban and drive 3 ½ hours through the Sierra Mountains to Napa. All eight would camp out in a trailer while Tony and the two boys, John and Anthony II, would tend to the vines on Saturday and Sunday before returning home Sunday night.

Over the years, the Truchards slowly expanded their estate. Neighbors noticed Tony having great success with grapes and would approach him about buying their farms. Jo Ann, who was trying to raise six children, would quickly object to buying any more property. While Tony, not able to resist, always had to know how much they were asking. He was transforming pasture into prime vineyards, quite the opposite of the first Truchard descendent -- Jean Marie. Luckily for Tony, he’d found the right spot and land prices in Napa continued to trend upwards.

Since 1973, the Truchard estate has grown to 400 acres, of which 280 acres are planted. (Roughly 80% Sustainably Grown, 20% Organically Grown).

After selling their grapes to premier wineries for 15 years, the Truchards began producing their own wines in 1989 to great acclaim. To accommodate the winery’s increased production, in 1998, they added an 11,000-square-foot wine cave to the premises. Today, Truchard Vineyards produces Chardonnay, Roussanne, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Merlot, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo, Malbec and Petit Verdot all of which are estate grown.

The Team

TONY AND JO ANN TRUCHARD:

Tony and Jo Ann Truchard both grew up in Texas and had plans to spend most of their lives there. They both graduated from the University of Texas in Austin. Jo Ann was teaching school in Austin and Tony was getting ready to start Medical School at Southwestern Medical School in Dallas when they met at a country dance in Jo Ann's hometown of La Grange, Texas. They married in 1964. After graduating from Southwestern, Tony completed his internship through the Army at Walter Reed Memorial and his residency at Brooke General Hospital in San Antonio.

Tony then received orders to report to Korea for a two year tour; however, a very pregnant Jo Ann changed all of that by slipping on a grape in the grocery store in San Antonio and breaking her knee. Four days later, sporting a full leg cast, Jo Ann delivered their fourth baby and their lives changed. Instead of Korea, the Army decided to send Tony to Northern California to serve as the medical commander for a base near the Nevada border.

During Tony's tour in California the Truchard family took a number of road trips. On one such trip, after checking in at the Presidio in San Francisco, the family drove up to the Napa Valley to see the vineyards. Tony thought it would be "fun" to buy some Napa property and plant a vineyard. During the next two decades, Tony continued to buy property until he had 400 adjoining acres. At the same time, their family grew to include 4 daughters and 2 sons.

ANTHONY TRUCHARD II:

Anthony Truchard II serves as the General Manager for Truchard Vineyards. In this role, he is responsible for leading the expansion of Truchard Vineyards into several markets, both nationwide and internationally. By developing new ideas while maintaining a strong connection with the vineyard team and cellar crew, Anthony successfully manages all aspects of the family business.

Anthony grew up running between vines and climbing on tractors. As early as the age of 12, he began working among the vines by helping his father with virtually every element of the vineyard – learning which rootstock to select, planting vines, and irrigation to name a few. In the winery, he racked barrels, punched down wine, and learned the art of blending. Through these hands-on experiences, Anthony learned to appreciate every aspect of winemaking and honed his palate.

His studies took him to Southern California, where he graduated with degrees in Philosophy and Biology from the University of California Santa Barbara. As a university student, he further developed his wine knowledge by working and managing local boutique wine shops and restaurants. These experiences – the interactions with wine lovers in different settings – were his initial lessons in sales and marketing. They helped him gain an ability to appreciate and discern what a customer seeks when selecting a wine, either off a shelf or from a wine list.

Subsequently, Anthony decided to pursue his interest in the law. He graduated from Cardozo School of Law in New York City and practiced intellectual property law for several years before returning to Napa at his parents’ request.

Today, alongside his parents, Anthony works incessantly and passionately to maintain the integrity of his family’s wines and loves sharing them with the world.

LINDA CARR:

Since Linda joined Truchard Vineyards in 1998, she has played a key role in ensuring that Truchard Vineyards runs smoothly and knows that a small family owned winery must be operated on a personal level. Over the years she has handled a variety of responsibilities, from tours and tastings to managing events at the winery. Today, she serves as the office manager at the winery and handles the winery's accounting and orders by working closely with Truchard's brokers and distributors in the marketplace.

Born and raised on a remote cattle ranch in Day, a scenic small town in Northern California, Linda was whisked away by her husband to Napa, California, over twenty years ago. As she learned to love her new home, her passion for wine and the wine industry grew each day, and ultimately she accepted the opportunity to work with the Truchards. She is the embodiment of warmth and dedication that shows in everything she does at Truchard.

ADA SMILLIE:

Ada Smilie was born on a 100-acre self-sustaining and organic farm in rural Quebec, Canada. From a very young age, she loved learning the fine processes of fermentation from her father’s beer and mead experiments in their basement.

After working in many different countries and industries she moved to Napa in 2006. Joining Constellation Brands, she worked at Franciscan, Ravenswood, and Robert Mondavi Winery. Subsequently, she moved to a family-owned sparkling wine house, Schramsberg, where she was assistant tasting room manager for more than four years.

She always knew she wanted to work for a small family who still had their hands in the dirt and who cared deeply about their land and the wines they made. Truchard vineyards is just that place, peacefully hidden in time. Its wines, land, and hospitality are a window back to what Napa Valley used to be. Knowing that the owners of the company work so hard every day and are so passionate about their wines helps reinforce how special and unique this property, and the people who are part of it, really are.

Ada hopes you will join her in celebrating this special place and its spectacular wines - please let her know if there is anything she can do to make your visit the most memorable in wine country.

Estate Vineyards / AVA

CLIMATE & SITE:

The vines at Truchard Vineyards benefit not only from the cooling fog and moderate temperatures of Carneros, but are also influenced by the estate’s unique topography, consisting of rolling hills, steep ravines, and numerous valleys. In addition, they are positioned across a wide variety of soil types including clay, shale, sandstone, lava rock, and volcanic ash. These factors allow the Truchards to grow diverse grape varieties, each planted with its optimal growing conditions in mind and minimal intervention.

Made up of nearly 400 contiguous acres, the property runs about two miles long and about a half a mile wide. As the most Northeastern vineyard in the Carneros region, Truchard is situated on the foothills of what becomes the Mayacama mountain range and Mount Veeder. This location provides the estate added warmth and more alluvial soils that supply better drainage and keep excess moisture away from the roots. Most of the property faces the South and West and captures the afternoon sun, which produces optimum ripening for grape varieties like Syrah, Roussanne, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. While Pinot Noir, which thrives in a cool climate, is planted on the Eastern facing slopes of the property for morning sun and shade from the intense afternoon heat.

Along with the rolling hills in this area, a myriad of soils exist on the property. The fault line that runs through the Northeast corner of the property dramatically changes the soil from the classic Carneros clay located in the Southern portions of the vineyards to volcanic soils found in the Mayacamas. The Truchards’ experience has revealed that Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Merlot perform well in the clay soils, while Syrah, Zinfandel, and Roussanne grow best in fractured volcanic soils.

The blocks are planted in very small sections, with each factor carefully considered in an effort to determine what grape variety to plant based on the various contours and soils. The result is a scattering of small blocks resembling more of a mosaic or patch work quilt than a planned property. Make no mistake, this is by design; much planning and thought went into the seemly haphazard placement of varieties, clones, and rootstock.

The row direction at Truchard is oriented North and South, unless the hillside is too steep to permit such an orientation. This allows for maximum sun exposure on all the vines and provides greater control during leafing of exposure on the fruit. There is an additional advantage of this arrangement since the afternoon winds in Carneros are famous for blowing North from the bay– right down the rows – helping to prevent mildew and other diseases.

Currently the vineyard grows 12 different grape varieties, making it one of the most diverse estate vineyards in Napa Valley. Because of the unique climate and soil that exists on the estate, the Truchard family is able to create wines that are truly "with a sense of place."

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Hours

In order to give each of our guests the personal and unique experience they deserve, our tasting room is open by appointment only. Appointments are available Monday through Saturday.

Address

3234 Old Sonoma Road
Napa, California 94559
United States

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