Trinitas Cellars Blog
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.
Bula! Or "Hello" rather! Greetings from Fiji!
If you hadn't already heard, I got married on June 14, 2014 to my beautiful wife, Betsy, and we danced the night away at the Meritage Resort & Spa, home to our Trinitas Cellars tasting room and vineyard in Napa. It was a perfect day and we are currently on our honeymoon across the Pacific Ocean in the tropical paradise of Fiji!
While we have absolutely loved the local rum and the hospitality of the people here, but we couldn't help but bring a little bit of our own Trinitas wine to share and enjoy on the beach while watching the beautiful sunsets!
Hope to see you back in Napa when we return!
All the best, Garrett & Betsy
This year, all Vintners were given these pretty sweet red auction glasses as "Auction Swag". Naturally, Steve, our Assistant Winemaker, has his on and is ready to head up to the Welcome Party at Peju Winery tonight. Looking forward to sharing our wines with all of those that are here for Auction Napa Valley!
Don't miss our Trinintas lot this year, Barrel #293. This year it's extra special as we decided to do a single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon per Steve's recommendation. This vineyard is called "Martin Vineyard" and is located in the Coombsville appellation of Napa Valley and we are especially excited about it! Auction On! #ANV14
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
Each year, Trinitas Cellars hosts an event called "Crusaders' Weekend" in January. Just a few weeks ago, we hosted our annual Crusaders' Weekend and invited our best customers of 2013. Crusaders' weekend is the one event every year that we have a chance to thank our most loyal supporters, get to know all of them on a more personal level, and also have a really great time! We also have the chance to reveal some of the new and exciting things going on at Trinitas.
We have an amazing team at Trinitas and it is a great opportunity to not only get all of us together but also to show off our people to the customers of Trinitas. It is a great way to get to know each other and work closer together but also to showcase the team and support we have at Trinitas for all of our customers.
On Saturday night of Crusaders' weekend we all experience the culmination of what Trinitas is all about. Our philosophy in winemaking involves the Trinity of elements that go into making great wines: Sun, Soil, and Humanity. This one night every year we have all the elements together, Sun is represented by God and the Holy Spirit who provides us with everything we have, particularly those to make wine. Soil is represented by our Growers who are present this night and without who we could not get the amazing grapes we have to make our wines, and lastly Humanity, representing the growers, our winemaker, and our team that make the wine come to being but also our customers and consumers, without who we would have no purpose to make our wines. This is the best evening of the year because we can get all of the essence of Trinitas in one room and at one time. For anyone who has been, you know how special this evening is. Thank you to all of you who participated this year and we look forward to 2014 and a great year ahead of us! Cheers!
Our winemaker, Kevin Mills, spends countless hours perfecting the wine that we all enjoy to drink. Last week, I caught up with Kevin's wife, Brandy, to get her perspective on the life of a winemaker and what it's like to be married to one!
Q: What is your favorite part of having a husband who is a winemaker?
A: Drinking the wine, and learning about the winemaking process. There are so many steps!
Q: What is your least favorite part of having a husband who is a winemaker?
A: The harvest beard!
Q: We’ve seen Kevin’s “harvest beard” that he grows from the first day of harvest to the last day of harvest. When did this tradition originate and how do you feel about it?
A: I’m not sure when it began but he has grown one for the past 9 harvests that I have known him. I made him shave it early one year for a wedding (for Jen Heim, our Director of National Sales) and he swears it affected the wine! I do not believe in the superstition, but he does, so the beard must grow.
Q: What is your involvement in the wine industry?
A: I am the Auctions Manager for the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV). The NVV is the nonprofit trade association that promotes and protects the Napa Valley appellation as the premier winegrowing region.
Q: What’s your favorite wine that your husband has made?
A: Everything! But I have a soft spot for Pinot.
Q: Any requests for a wine that Kevin should make but hasn’t yet?
A: No, just continue to make high quality wine and save a few bottles of each for me.
Let's hope he saves more than a few bottles for you, Brandy! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us and especially for sharing your husband with us! Cheers!