Ep 404: Truchard Vineyards, A Carneros (Napa) Legend with Anthony Truchard

Anthony Truchard, Truchard Vineyards


Anthony Truchard of Truchard Vineyards in the Los Carneros area of southern Napa is one of my favorite people in Napa, and it was a pleasure to have him on the show.

 

Truchard Vineyards is a family-owned winery that has been operating for over 40 years. It started when Anthony’s parents Tony and JoAnn were about to head to Korea for a two-year tour with the US Army (of which Tony was part). After Tony completed his medical residency in Texas, where the couple was from JoAnn, who was very pregnant, fortuitously slipped on a grape in a grocery store, broke her knee and the Army sent the family to a base in CA near the Nevada border. 

 

Upon exploring the beauty of California, Tony got a wild hair to buy a vineyard in Napa and the rest is history. Truchard started out as a growing operation in the 1970s but in 1989 they decided to take some of their favorite blocks and start their own winery. Although they are still a major supplier of grapes to very prestigious properties up-valley in Napa, their winery is true to the land of Carneros and one of the purest expressions of this unique area in the North Coast of California.

JoAnn and Tony Truchard

 

Anthony Truchard was one of six of the Truchard children who grew up commuting between the family vineyard in Carneros and spending his weeks at school in Reno, NV and his weekends in Napa -- he was working in the fields with his father, Tony, by age 12. Anthony has degrees in Philosophy and Biology from UC Santa Barbara and worked in local wine shops and restaurants, learning how normal people interact with and buy wine. He also got a law degree from Cardozo School of Law in New York City and practiced intellectual property law before returning to Napa to become the GM of Truchard Vineyards, where he works hard to maintain the integrity of his family’s wines.

 

Here are the topics we cover in the show:

  • The history of Truchard, starting in France (yes, they owned land and farmed vines there!), moving into the first Truchards’ attempts at viticulture in Texas (right idea, wrong place!), and then discussing the Truchard story in California and how Anthony was involved in the vineyard from the time he was a young boy and his father worked to convert an old prune farm that people thought was too cool for grapes into a thriving vineyard.

Truchard's barn in Texas, still stands today!

Anthony gives us a full education on Carneros. We discuss:

  • The unique designation of the appellation – the fact that it was the first in California to transcend municipal lines and be based on terroir
  • Why the climate is cool here
  • The different parts of Carneros and why some grapes like Roussanne, Syrah and Cabernet can thrive in certain areas
  • The topography, soil types, and water challenges of the area

 

We discuss the main grapes that thrive here – Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Merlot, and how Cabernet Sauvignon is growing in plantings as the climate warms. Anthony also talks about the major cultural differences between Carneros and other parts of the Napa Valley.

The Cave at Truchard Vineyards in Carneros

 

We cover the viability of organics in a cool climate with major fog, like Carneros and what becoming organic does for the grapes

 

Anthony talks about the collaboration of Tony Truchard, his dad who still manages is the vineyards, and the winemaker, Sal de Ianni. He discusses the goal of the team at Truchard Vineyards  – to express the land and the vintage in each bottle, to stay traditional (not chase trends),  and to stay true to the farming roots.


Truchard Winemaker Sal de Ianni

Anthony gives us some thoughts about market trends and what he sees for the future of Carneros and Truchard.

 

These are spectacular wines and are available in the US and the UK at a reasonable price. They are meant to enjoy and to pair with food.


Photos all from Truchardvineyards.com

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