Paul Franson

Paul Franson

Trinchero Family Estates is updating its large Main Street production winery in St. Helena, which was home to Sutter Home and Menage a Trois wines until the family completed its highly automated, high-volume production facility in Lodi last year.

This removed large numbers of trucks from Napa Valley highways and provided space for the upgrade in St. Helena to produce other wines.

The updates to the winemaking and production side will allow enhanced capabilities for research and development for the winemaking team, as well as greater flexibility for working with smaller lot, luxury wines, officials said.

The multi-year project could take until 2019. It’s a significant investment in the upper tiers of the portfolio for Trinchero, and complements multiple winery and vineyard acquisitions in recent years as well as continued investment in their current assets, officials said.

Maxville Lake Winery to open in Chiles Valley

Maxville Lake Winery will soon open to the public in Chiles Valley

The project, once the late Ed Keith’s Catalula Ranch, is on more than 1,000 acres permanently protected by the Napa Valley Land Trust in rugged terrain and scenic lake.

Maxville wines are made by Bordeaux-born winemaker Camille Benitah in the new winery.

They will be marketed by Terlato Wines, which owns Chimney Rock and Rutherford Hill in Napa Valley.

The initial wines are cabernet sauvignon, petite sirah, cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc.

Chiles Valley, which has its own American Agricultural Area within the Napa Valley, is higher than the valley floor, with Maxville Lake’s vineyards at elevations between 900 and 1,200 feet. Afternoons are sunny and warm, but nighttime temperatures plunge.

A longer growing season encourages full phenolic maturity, giving the grapes tremendous complexity. Dry farming helps convey the inherent qualities of the land to the grapes, and minimal intervention in the winery delivers those qualities to the bottle.

The winery will soon be open by appointment and available for private events. It has a 12-acre lake for fishing, trails for hiking and horseback riding and luxury guest cottages.

Acumen opening Napa tasting room

Acumen Wine will a tasting room in downtown Napa on April 30. The Acumen Wine Gallery will be next to Subway at 1315 First St.

Steve Matthiasson and Garrett Buckland produce Acumen estate cabernet sauvignon from an Atlas Peak vineyard. Its founding winemaker was the late Denis Malbec.

The Acumen Wine Gallery features a grand tasting room with three intimate seating areas, a private tasting room and cellar and an art gallery.

The new owners of Back Room Wines

The new owners of retailer Back Room Wines will be Felicia and Prashant Patel.

Felicia is from east Tennessee, where her family owned wine and spirits stores and she served as controller.

Prashant was raised in Napa and owns Invictus Marketing in Napa. His father owns the Discovery Inn on Silverado Trail.

Handwritten Wines’ tasting room

Handwritten Wines, which now pours tastes at 6720 Washington St. in Yountville, in the cottage next to the Jessup Cellars Tasting Gallery, will build its own location on the empty lot between Ranch Market and Priest Ranch on Washington Street.

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Both companies are part of The Good Life Wine Collective.

It will be multi-use with Handwritten, additional retail space and a private residence.

Durling named winemaker at Beaulieu

Trevor Durling is the new general manager and chief winemaker for Beaulieu Vineyard, becoming only the fifth winemaker for the winery founded in 1900.

Durling has been winemaker for Provenance and Hewitt, fellow properties in Treasury Wine Estates.

Jeffrey Stambor, who joined Beaulieu Vineyard in 1989, is leaving the winery and will serve as a brand ambassador until June.

A Sonoma County native, Durling graduated from UC Davis after studying viticulture and enology. He worked harvests at Sonoma-Cutrer in the Russian River Valley and at Gloria Ferrer before joining Moon Mountain Vineyard in Sonoma Valley, where he focused on Bordeaux- styled wines grown in demanding mountain terroir.

Wine Country Hospitality Symposium

The Wine Country Hospitality Symposium is on Tuesday, April 11, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the St. Helena Campus of Napa Valley College.

Educational sessions will discuss digital marketing, improving the guest experience, the Napa Ag Preserve and food safety.

The day includes lunch. Registration is $125. Register at www.winecountryhospitality.com or 256-7254.

Vineyard Economics Seminar coming up

The Vineyard Economics Seminar will be May 24 at the Napa Valley Marriott.

California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross will give the keynote address.

Early pricing is $350 at www.vineyardeconomics.com.

Fundamentals of Vineyard Design

Napa Valley Grapegrowers present Field Day—Part II: Fundamentals of Vineyard Design for Quality & Production on Friday, April 7 at Vine Hill Ranch on the western edge of Oakville. Bruce Phillips and Michael Wolf will share their roles in shaping the vineyard with an eye toward the next 20 years of successful harvests and site-driven wines.

A Spanish-language session will be from 7-9 a.m. and English from 10 a.m. to noon.

See www.napagrowers.org or call 944-8311.

Forum on grape physiology

Focus on Physiology, a joint Vit Tech and Wine Tech meeting, is on Thursday, May 4, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at Blue Note in Napa.

Registration is required. The cost is $30. Register at at ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=20114 or UC Cooperative Extension, 1710 Soscol Ave., Suite 4, Napa.

Blue Note is at 1030 Main St. in Napa.

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