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Trefethen: Winning the 40 Year Race

Having celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2008, Trefethen Family Vineyards continues to be a family-owned shining beacon for Napa Valley.

Coming off their anniversary year and placed in the “no rest for the weary” file is the fact that the Trefethen family, Janet and John, son Loren, with a strong assist from daughter Hailey, chaired the 29th edition of Auction Napa Valley in June of this year.

While 2009 was an “off” year for giving, the auction still garnered $5.7M and earned a 4.4 rating out of 5 stars from attendees, according to Janet Trefethen.

Notable amongst the fundraising was the $130,000 earned from the auction lot put up by the Trefethen family.  Rick Jones from Jones Family Vineyard won the behind-the-scenes tour of the 2010 Indianapolis 500, the 94th running of the world-renowned race, called “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” which takes place right here in my backyard in Indianapolis.

Truly a once in a lifetime experience, the centerpiece of the winning lot is riding in the pace car at the front of the field before the start of the race.  Many have described their pace car ride, in front of 300,000 spectators, as one of the most exciting moments of their life.  Other aspects of the winning lot include a private tour of the Chip Ganassi headquarters and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, VIP pit passes for the race and a private dinner for four with racer Scott Pruett, known for a long list of wins in numerous racing series, including open wheel racing; if it has four wheels and a steering wheel, Pruett has driven it.

Given my dual interests in the Indianapolis 500 and wine, I caught up with Janet Trefethen to discuss the origination of the auction lot.

She noted that husband John has long been an adventurous sort, driving a motorcycle, flying airplanes and generally keeping himself young in spirit, as well as physical make-up.

John got into racing in the 60’s, while in college in North Carolina.  He rekindled his love of racing in the 90’s when he began racing BMWs and Porsches competitively.

Janet said, “(John) won the Porsche GT3 Cup series for North America a few years ago.  Scott Pruett has become one of his mentors … Scott helped us in working with the Indy 500 people and Chip Ganassi to come up with special perks during the winning bidders’ trip to the Indy 500 in 2010.”

Janet noted that racing keeps John young, and offers a small bit of thrill as he speeds around the track to the whispers of, “watch out for the gray hair” from driver’s decades younger.

While some race car drivers, notable among them being Mario Andretti, one of the most successful drivers of all time, retire to the slower wine lifestyle and move to Napa Valley, John Trefethen is going in the opposite direction—driving quality at the winery while offsetting the pace of the winery lifestyle with a need for speed.

Congrats to the Trefethen family for a banner 18 months – their 40th anniversary, a successful chair of the Auction Napa Valley, and continued quality and family stewardship in Napa. And, of course, an advance welcome to Indianapolis to them and Rick Jones for next years Indianapolis 500.

Wine Review:
2004 Trefethen Family Vineyards Oak Knoll District Estate Cabernet Sauvignon



Posted in, Good Grape Wine Reviews. Permalink | Comments (6) |


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