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Napa Valley wine executive Carlo Trinchero arrested on weapons allegations

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Carlo Trinchero, a member of the Napa Valley family that owns Sutter Home and other wine brands, faces potential firearm charges after his arrest late last week.

The 35-year-old Trinchero, a scion of the family that created Trinchero Family Estates, was arrested by Napa County sheriff’s deputies on Friday afternoon on suspicion of illegal gun and ammunition possession by a convicted felon. 

Sheriff's detectives obtained a search warrant for two homes belonging to Trinchero Friday morning after receiving a tip that he possessed guns despite being barred from doing so, according to sheriff's spokesperson Henry Wofford.

After seeing Trinchero drive away at about 1:20 p.m. in a pickup truck from a home in the 1100 block of Second Avenue outside Napa, detectives stopped him 10 minutes later and detained him in the 3200 block of Monticello Road, where he disclosed keeping weapons at another property in the 5100 block of Highway 128, Wofford said Tuesday afternoon.

A search of the Highway 128 site turned up 11 firearms including an AR-15 rifle, along with several cases of ammunition and magazines, according to Wofford. Detectives also found less than a gram of suspected methamphetamine in the truck, Wofford added.

Trinchero was booked into the Napa County jail and was released later Friday evening on $50,000 bail, according to jail booking records.

As of late Monday, no charges had been filed by the office of Napa County District Attorney Allison Haley.

Meanwhile, Trinchero’s estranged wife cited the Friday arrest in seeking a restraining order.

In her court filing asking to renew an earlier protective order that expired in October, Stephanie Trinchero alleged that he has kept methamphetamine and guns — including an assault rifle — and has had both meth and firearms under the same roof as their daughters, who are 3 and 2. (The couple filed for divorce in June after five years of marriage.)

According to the restraining order, Carlo Trinchero has been barred from owning guns because of his May 15, 2016 arrest after he pushed her into a closet, causing bleeding that required medical attention, and also punched and threatened a paramedic who arrived at the couple’s St. Helena home. He pleaded no contest to domestic violence and in February 2017 was sentenced to six months in jail and three years of probation.

The request, which a Napa County judge granted Monday to replace an earlier order that expired last month, described Carlo Trinchero as prone to violent anger and jealousy and alleged he has abused, threatened and stalked her through their 10-year relationship.

“The children have been exposed to Carlo’s rage and volatile behavior,” the 31-year-old Stephanie Trinchero, who married Carlo in 2017, wrote in her request. “They have witnessed him screaming and using profanity with me and others. It is detrimental to their welfare to witness this behavior, and I am afraid for their safety as well.”

Carlo Trinchero’s behavior became even more violent after he began using methamphetamine around 2018, his wife said in her protection request, which alleges he placed a GPS tracker on her vehicle, punched and kicked holes in walls, smashed a car headlight, and destroyed four of her smartphones because he suspected she was seeing other men.

Carlo Trinchero is a son of Roger Trinchero, whose father Mario moved the family from New York to the Napa Valley in 1948 to reopen a Sutter Home winery that had been dormant since Prohibition. Sutter Home rose to fame starting in the mid-1970s with its creation of White Zinfandel, a lighter and sweeter wine that now sells about 4.5 million cases annually.

Despite the family legacy, Carlo Trinchero took a roundabout route into the wine industry, he recalled in a 2019 interview with the Napa Valley Register. After studying kinesiology at Sacramento State University, he became a physical trainer until winery visits and tastings led him to “realize what I was a part of and how stupid I would be if I somehow didn’t involve myself,” he said.

He co-founded his own project, Taken Wine Co., in 2009 and then worked as a merchandiser and sales representative with Trinchero’s distributor. Later, he became the Trinchero company’s director of fine wines and, starting in 2015, launched what became The Heritage Collection, a line of wines priced well above the White Zinfandel and rosés that had built the family company’s original renown.

The seasonal ice rink at the Meritage Resort and Spa has officially opened.

You can reach Howard Yune at 530-763-2266 or hyune@napanews.com.

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City Editor and Public Safety Reporter

Howard Yune became the Register's city editor in September 2022. He has been a staff reporter and photographer since 2011, and previously wrote for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat, Anaheim Bulletin and Coos Bay (Oregon) World.

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