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Trinitas Cellars Blog
Welcome to the Trinitas Cellars Blog! We hope you join us for frequent updates on our vineyards, production, tasting room and wine education.
Excited to share this great feature from the Notre Dame Alumni Magazine:
A Napa Love Story
By Julie Sobel
It's easy enough to spot Garrett and Betsy Busch at tailgates: They're the ones who bring wine.
It may not be the typical drink choice for tailgating, but not much about the Busches’ lives is typical. Together, the husband and wife team run a small Napa Valley winery called Trinitas Cellars.
The two Notre Dame alums met the first week of Betsy’s freshman year. She attended a dorm party that Garrett, a sophomore, was hosting. "I liked to host parties at school,” he says, “and now I do it for my job.”
Betsy went on to major in accounting, and graduated in 2010. She earned a master’s in accounting from Notre Dame the following year. Garrett graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor's degree in Entrepreneurship, and earned his M.B.A. in 2010.
Garrett’s parents, Tim and Steph Busch, founded Trinitas in 2002. The Busches started taking trips to Napa from their Orange County home in the 1980s, and fell in love with the area and the wine business. Garrett hadn’t planned on going into the wine business after school. But after getting his M.B.A., his parents hired him to help with the winery, which was struggling financially.
He made a business plan and ultimately agreed to manage Trinitas on an interim basis. He ended up staying on as manager – and the winery hasturned around with him at the helm.
"I've been learning everything I can about it, kind of on the job training since then,” says Garrett, who is now focused on growing the business and getting more exposure. “We’re doing some fun stuff, some unique stuff, we’re making good wine, and we’re having fun doing it.”
Meanwhile, Garrett and Betsy got engaged, and she started working at the winery full-time last year. "We came to the conclusion that there's a lot of work to do up here and a lot of my skills are definitely relevant to the needs that we had," she says. The transition was a big adjustment for Betsy, who had never worked for a small business before – or a winery. She took some wine classes and learned, as Garrett had, on the job. “I drank a lot of wine in the process," she laughs.
When the couple got married in June, they held their wedding reception at the Meritage Resort & Spa, the Busch property where the Trinitas tasting room is located. And Garrett had a wine-related surprise for Betsy at the wedding. It was the first time Trinitas had made a sparkling wine, which they were releasing the same month. They were calling the wine “BB,” short for “Busch Bubbles.” But at the wedding, Garrett made a toast where he dedicated the wine to Betsy, welcoming her to the family as “Betsy Busch.”
It wasn’t the first time Trinitas used wordplay in a wine name – though the names are usually of a religious nature. Trinitas is the Latin word for Trinity, and the Busches have integrated Catholicism into their business. “There's a strong faith-based thread through the winery,” says Garrett. They make a rose wine called "Rose’ary," and a white blend called "Psalms." They have particularly gotten some attention for their pope-specific wines, a tradition they started in 2006 with a zinfandel called "RatZINger" for Pope Benedict XVI. Tim and Steph Busch presented the wine to the Pope during their annual April trip to Rome.
Garrett recalls his father calling him shortly after Pope Benedict retired in February 2013, reminding him that they’d need a new wine for the new Pope, whom he and his wife would see on their April trip.
"I'm like dad, you own this winery, you understand how this works,” Garrett recalled. “I can't invent a wine in 30 days." But Garrett did already have a wine in mind for Pope Francis – a Cabernet Franc called CABERNET FRANCis.
"That was even easier than RatZINger to come up with," he says. The wine was still in barrel this April, but Trinitas’ winemaker and Garrett went and hand-bottled a case for his parents’ trip to Italy. “I was sitting there at my kitchen table hand-labeling bottles, and then it hit me, ‘This is really weird, I’m making something at my kitchen table that’s going to end up in the Pope’s hands next week.’”
Just another day in the wine business for Garrett and Betsy.
Running a company (and sharing an office) as a couple has its challenges – but Garrett and Betsy agree it’s working well for them. "I think originally Betsy was a little nervous," Garrett ventures. "We do things differently, but I think we're very cognizant of the ways that we differ," adds Betsy. "We're not afraid to play devil's advocate with each other," and push each other, she says. Garrett also notes that working in the family business is very consuming, and that they’d see much less of each other if Betsy were working elsewhere.
“We’re glad we’re a team, and doing this together,” he says.
What in the world is a California wine producer doing importing and selling Italian wines? I know, it sounds crazy, and maybe it is, but there is something about these incredible Amarone wines from Italy that we cannot get enough of and just had to share with our friends and Trinitas family!
The quest to make Amarone and sell it as part of the Trinitas portfolio came from the beginning. Our founders, Tim and Steph Busch, had always had a love for Amarone and at the beginning, Tim went in search of someone who could produce a wine here in Napa that would stand up to some of his favorites from Valpolicella Classico, the area in Italy near Verona that is known for producing Amarone. After being called crazy a few times and failed attempts to find someone willing to help take on this new challenge, Tim changed gears and decided to go straight to the source: to Italy!
Nothing is by accident and it seemed meant to be that Tim met Armando Fumanelli and became fast friends. Armando and his family live in the area of Verona called “Valpolicella Classico”. The family is the largest land owners of that region of Italy and has over 120 acres of Amarone vineyards (of the 3 varietals that they use in their Amarone) and have been growing grapes and producing wines since the 15th century!
After meeting and due to his love of the wine, Tim was able to work out a deal with Armando to introduce the Fumanelli's Amarone to the Trinitas porfolio of wines and Trinitas officially released the 2006 Amarone, bringing this incredibly complex and sophisticated wine to share with our friends here in Napa. Fascinated by this wine? Besides the incredible taste and quality of the wine, the winemaking process is very interesting and we enjoy learning more and more about it, while drinking it, of course!
When picking, the Fumanelli family uses a double selection method and picks only the best grapes off the vine and then sorts them on a sorting table and picks out the best of the best. By law, the Amarone grapes have a minimum of 2 months drying time; however, typically the Fumanelli Amarone grapes are dried for 90-120 days which means they typically do not destem and press the grapes until mid-January. This extended drying period leads to losing about 50% of the volume while drying, meaning it takes 5 pounds of grapes to get enough juice to fill one 750 ml bottle.
Amarone is a traditional product in Italy, meaning that there are various rules that apply to the winemaking process. In addition to the grapes needing to be dried for at least two months, the wine must also spend a minimum of 2 years in barrel and a minimum of 5 months in bottle. Since these are the minimum requirements, they are actually quite different from the aging process Fumanelli uses. The Fumanelli’s typically age the wine for 3-5 years in barrel. During this time it is extremely important to not oxidize the wine as you have 700-800 bottles of wine per barrel so temperature control and security of the barrels is very important; however, the Fumanelli cellar was built in 1600 and is in limestone so it stays naturally cool. They do not have any heaters, coolers or humidifiers.
Additionally, the minimum alcohol percentage on an Amarone wine is 15% and 16% for a “Riserva”. This high alcohol requirement ensures that no one is watering back their Amarone.
The Fumanelli family uses only French oak and they use 500L barrels, which are just over double the size of the barrels we use on most of our wines here in Napa (typically our barrels are 225L). The Fumanelli’s use their barrles once and then sell them after one use because one use is typically about 4 years.
The corks used on the Amarone are Portugese corks that are hand selected and the cost of this raw material alone is $2.00 per cork.
While we know many of you would prefer to travel to Italy and try the wine direct from the source, we know that's not always possible. If you are looking for an adventure and want to learn more about this incredible wine and how we found it and taste through a vertical of Italian wines, join us for our Taste of Italy experience at the Trinitas Library. More information available here.
In 2013 Trinitas added Amarone to its portfolio by working with the Fumanelli family in Verona, Italy. This year, Trinitas is taking it to the next level and bringing you another unique and exquisite wine from the North Central region of Italy. This new wine is a Franciacorta Sparkling wine and we call ours "BB" short for "Busch Bubbles".
The Franciacorta region is attracting quite a bit of attention as it was the first Italian region to specify that the sparkling wines here must be made in the method champenoise. This is the traditional method used in Champagne in France and is known for producing the finest sparkling wines. Like Champagne, the name “Franciacorta” refers to both a geographic area as well as the sparkling wine. Awarded the prestigious DOCG designation in 1995. It is a small area with relatively low production compared to the Champagne region of France, and sized about one-tenth of Champagne's growing region. Its total annual output of about 13 million bottles is minor compared to Champagne's annual production of some 320 million bottles, with 90% of the wine never leaving the country.
Earlier this year, Garrett and I visited Franciacorta and explored this lesser known wine region and fell in love with the quality of wines made there. We knew we had to bring these wines to Trinitas to share with our friends and family. Because our family loves a little sparkling to celebrate not only special occassions but our daily blessings, we named the wine "BB", short for "Busch Bubbles". The sparkling that we chose to bring back to the Trinitas portfolio is a 2008 Brut Rose, made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes and I even got to help riddle some of the bottles at the winery!
Unbeknownst to me, Garrett dedicated this wine to me as he and his family offiically welcomed me to the family as "Betsy Busch" in June. When the first bottles arrived from Italy, Garrett announced it at our wedding, with quite a special showing by using a saber to open it!
We are more than excited to share this wine with all of you and hope that you will come try a taste as part of our Archive tasting at the Trinitas Library or grab a bottle to share with your friends and family. Cheers!
Check out this great little blurb and picture from last weekend's Auction Napa Valley.
That's right, winemaker, Kevin Mills and Proprietor, Garrett Busch pouring our 2012 Martin Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon barrel at Barrel Auction! Looking good guys!
May is BBQ Month at Trinitas Cellars! We plan to enjoy this warm weather by grilling all month long!
In honor of our love for a good old fashioned backyard barbeque, we are offering some great deals on our favorite BBQ wines:
Always a favorite!
Discontinued and almost gone!
Mix and match any of these 3 wines and receive 15% off your purchase! Use code MayBBQ at checkout.
Wine Society members, receive 25% off your purchase of 3 or more of these wines, use code BBQ14 at checkout!
Shop online NOW or call or email Lucy, our Wine Society Manager, to place your order: 707.251.3017 or email@example.com
Spring has sprung in Napa and while many parts of the country are still trying to thaw out, Napa is ready to greet you to warm up and wine down! As the vines are just starting to turn green and bud, what better time to grab your best girl friends and treat yourself?
To help make this much needed girls weekend even easier, we already did the planning for you!
Flights: If you are flying, you have quite a variety of options for airports. Sacramento, Oakland and San Francisco are all within about an hour of Napa and can be reached by bus or car. For a shuttle, visit the Evans shuttle website for a full schedule.
Cars: While many people choose to rent a car and tour Napa on their own, there is also a great option to hire a private driver while in Napa. We highly recommend the paying a little bit more to have a driver and not risk any type of drinking and driving. Plus, you will find the sightseeing to be a lot more relaxing when you don’t have to navigate! We recommend using Royal Coach.
Accommodations: This one is a no brainer... where else can you stay that has a spa in a cave, a tasting room on property, vineyards to explore, a bowling alley and so much more! The Meritage Resort & Spa, 875 Bordeaux Way, Napa, CA 94558
Arrive in Napa around 3 pm, check into your room and mentally prepare for a weekend of amazing wine, food, laughter and fun!
Head straight to the pool area of the Meritage where you can grab a glass of Chardonnay, take in the fresh Napa Valley air and enjoy the breathtaking view of the Trinitas Estate Vineyard while soaking up a little afternoon sunshine.
Now that you have relaxed your mind and focused on your new surroundings, it’s time to start your adventure! Wander back into the Estate Cave, located below the Estate vineyard. Here you will find the entrance to the Trinitas Tasting Room and the Spa Terra. If you are ready to get serious about wine tasting, jump right in! With over 17 varieties of wine currently released, Trinitas is excited to help you pick your favorites and create your own custom flight. Or for the chocolate lovers, try the wine and chocolate pairing with exquisite chocolates by local chocolatier, Kollar Chocolates.
One of the great things about staying at the Meritage Resort is that you have access to a complimentary shuttle to downtown Napa. Hop on the shuttle and head to downtown Napa for dinner.
We recommend reservations at Tarla Grill, for a delicious Mediterranean meal and incredible service, located on 1st street.
After dinner, head just down the street to Empire for a night cap with their selection of great cocktails, fun music and a great vibe before catching the shuttle back to the Meritage.
Start your morning with coffee and a light breakfast at Blend Café.
OPTIONAL: If you are a morning person, take your coffee to go and head to the Estate Vineyard for a morning vineyard hike. Wander the paths of the Trinitas Estate Vineyard and see all 5 Bordeaux varieties of grapes and if you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of one of our vineyard rabbits!
Dive head first into a relaxing Saturday with a morning spa treatment at the Spa Terra, the world’s only spa inside of a cave. We recommend a massage, but plan extra time so that you can enjoy the other amenities and relaxation rooms inside of the spa.
Every girls weekend needs to start with bubbly! Luckily, there is some amazing sparkling wine nearby. Make your first stop at Domaine Carneros and enjoy sitting outside at the Chateau with a flight of sparkling.
Getting hungry? Head to the Carneros Inn for lunch at the Boon Fly Cafe. It's a cute little place with a great menu with salads, sandwiches, flatbreads, etc!
Now it’s time to get serious about wine. Visit Etude Winery just down the street in Carneros for a premium or reserve tasting and make a stop at Saintsbury for an afternoon tasting in the English garden.
Take advantage of the Meritage evening shuttle and head downtown for a cocktail, glass of wine or a small appetizer before dinner. If you are looking for a little wine and cheese before dinner, head to the Oxbow Public Market and visit the Oxbow Wine and Cheese Merchant or if you are looking for Oysters, visit the Hog Island Oyster Company, also inside the Oxbow Market.
For a classy Saturday night dinner, spoil yourself! We recommend making reservations at Cole’s Chop House in downtown Napa. Whether you are in the mood for steak, or something lighter, this menu will not disappoint!
After dinner, wander over to 1313 Main for an impressive selection of wines to choose from and maybe a little dessert before catching the Meritage shuttle back to the Resort.
For breakfast, order room service! You’re on vacation and you deserve it!
Head north and make your first stop at Mumm Napa for some sparkling wine while sitting outside on the terrace overlooking the vineyards.
Without having to travel far, visit ZD Wines, a family owned and operated winery just next door with a wide variety of tasting experiences available.
Grab lunch at Soda Canyon Store right off of Silverado Trail.
For a truly enchanting experience, make your last stop at The Trinitas Library for the 3:30 pm Archive Tasting. While the property is not your typical Napa Valley Estate, this hidden gem will provide you with a unique overview of the Napa Valley from soil types to learning about the life cycle of the vine, you won’t want to miss it.
After your last tasting, head just down the street to the Meritage for a cocktail at the Commons bar, located just off the lobby. We recommend the Lush Crush cocktail, made to order by the wonderful bartender, Gina.
For a delicious dinner, visit Siena for a Napa Valley inspired menu prepared by Executive Chef Krisztian Karkus. Bring a bottle of your favorite wine from your tastings or try a new one from their wine list.
After dinner, head over to Crush Ultra Lounge and trade in those heels for some really classy bowling shoes! Grab a lane and loser has to buy the next round of drinks!
If you are looking for the perfect late night and end to a girls weekend, grab a bottle of wine and head out to one of the cozy fire places on property and gather around with your friends and your wine and share some old and new stories, oh and don’t forget to also decide when your next girls weekend trip will be!
We hate to see you go, but know that many of you will sadly leave Napa after a long weekend and head back to your “real life” elsewhere. Please don’t stay away for too long! We will be here, ready for your return and eager to greet you with open arms and a glass of wine!
Last week we hosted a great event for our local industry friends and neighbors in the Napa Valley. We themed this night around the popular board game from our childhood, Clue!
Remember this game?
You have to use clues to find out who killed Mr. Boddy, what weapon they used and what room they did it in.
Well, since it can sometimes be awkward to network with a bunch of strangers, we decided asking people if they killed a man could not do anything but help break the ice... and as such, we created the night of Trinitas Clue!
Nestled under our vineyard in our Estate Cave, our butler (AKA Lamar) welcomed people into our "home" for their celebrity glam shots. We had all the usual suspects, Mrs. White, Professor Plum, Mrs. Peacock, Miss Scarlet, etc... Everyone looked fabulous!
Our guests wandering our "home", exploring the variety of rooms...
The Dining Room:
As guests, were getting their wine and exploring our home, someone tripped the lights and next thing we knew, poor Mr. Boddy was lying dead, right in the middle of the party!
Our guests quickly jumped to the occassion, looked for clues and interrogated some of the more suspicious guests:
With the help of our guests, the local detective was able to quickly realize that something did not add up and solve the crime. Mr. Green was clearly guilty and had used a candlestick to kill Mr. Boddy in the wine cellar. All so obvious by him being a little too cheerful to be a witness to such grievous acts:
Thank you to everyone who helped putting this evil Mr. Green behind bars!
We hope that we can have you all over for a dinner party again soon, next time without so much drama! We hope that this night serves as a reminder of why the Napa Valley hospitality industry is one of a kind and an industry full of amazing people.
For anyone who is interested in hosting a Trinitas Clue night or needs help planning a party, please let us know! Lamar is always ready to party plan: firstname.lastname@example.org or 707.251.3032
To view the rest of our pictures from the evening, click here or search #TrinitasClue on social media!
Or for anyone who wants to be invited to future Napa Industry parties, please send your email to Brianna at email@example.com
Excited to share this article about Trinitas Cellars and some of our Napa Valley friends by Gina Birch!
To read the full article, visit any one of these publications:
2007 Old Vine Cuvee
This past weekend, we dug deep into the cellar and pulled out a bottle of our 2007 Old Vine Cuvee. This was a special treat and provided a special treat to share with family while sitting around the fireplace sharing stories. What is Old Vine Cuvee? It seems a little strange, since you don't see "Old Vine Cuvee" on our labels anymore, but Old Vine Cuvee is actually the old name for our more well-known "Mysterium" red blend. This library wine has a special place in my heart since I particularly love the Mysterium wines, especially the current 2010 vintage.
2007 was a great year of the Old Vine Cuvee, and the blend was similar to the 2009 Mysterium vintage with 48% Zinfandel, 39% Carignane, 7% Petite Sirah, 5% Alicante Bouschet and 1% Black Malvasia.
I'm hoping that I can dig out a few more bottles of this in the next few months, and at the same time, stash away a few bottles of the 2010 Mysterium to enjoy a couple years from now.
Cheers and Happy New Year!
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