Jim Huntsinger, executive vice president of production at Trinchero Family Estates, is retiring at the end of this year.
Huntsinger started in the wine industry more than 50 years ago following in his father’s footsteps at Almaden Wines. He joined Korbel where he was the winemaker and production manager for 14 years. He also gained experience at Christian Brothers and Corbett Canyon before joining Sutter Home in 1987.
At the time, Sutter Home was the only wine brand under the Trinchero Family Estates umbrella with only four varietals: white zinfandel, zinfandel, reserve zinfandel, and moscato. The portfolio now includes more than 40 brands and 500 SKUs. It is known for its distinct brands such as Ménage à Trois, Sutter Home, Trinchero Napa Valley, Folie à Deux, Napa Cellars, and Joel Gott Wines.
Huntsinger was hired to oversee the company’s production as it expanded, beginning with the addition of Montevina Winery in 1988. The company then began production of the 1.5-liter bottle, and was also the first wine company in the United States to use the Stelcap (screwcap) alternative closure.
Another significant milestone during Huntsinger’s career was the development of the 187ml Sutter Home mini-bottle, which grew from 200,000 cases to 700,000 cases in less than a year, giving Sutter Home the foothold in the 187ml market. Years later, the company launched the first 187ml PET environmentally-friendly and portable mini-bottle.
As the company continued to grow, the production department designed and built the Green Island Road distribution and bottling facility to expand production capabilities. In 1993, the company acquired the Main Street plant and nearly tripled the size of the facility. This location now serves as the company’s headquarters.
In 1997, Sutter Home began its production expansion into Lodi where many of the company’s grapes are sourced. The Lodi facility will be completed in 2015 and will become the main bottling plant and distribution center for the company, resulting in significant financial savings and environmental benefits. Huntsinger also oversaw the company’s raw material procurement and requirement planning, leading to the development of new vineyards across the state from a few hundred acres to nearly 10,000 acres today.
“As the head of production and a close confidant to our family, Jim has been a key factor in the success of the company,” said Roger Trinchero, vice chairman and CEO, “The processes that he developed, and the team he built, will continue to ensure the growth of the company into the future. We will be forever grateful to Jim and his tremendous contribution to Trinchero Family Estates.”
Huntsinger added, “I fell into this business, and was able to learn from the bottom up. I am so thankful to the Trinchero family for giving me the opportunity to be part of a company that changed the way Americans enjoy wine.”
Huntsinger will hang up his hard hat at the end of 2014 and plans to, “go to the beach.”