In 1888, Anthony Truchard II’s great, great grandfather moved from Lyon, France to the outskirts of Houston, Texas to start a winery. Though his efforts were ultimately stymied by Prohibition, a vision had already begun to take shape for future generations of his family. Anthony says, "My father Tony grew up on that property in Texas and it planted the seed for his own vineyards and winery."
Tony bought Truchard Vineyards’ first 20 acres in Carneros in the 1970s, before it rose to prominence as a proven wine growing region. Anthony notes, "With the low water table in Carneros, many people didn’t think grapevines would get enough water. We were one of the early adopters of reservoirs for rainwater catchment and drip irrigation. The reservoirs also provide habitat for birds and other animals." Today, the reservoirs serve a dual purpose of saving water for irrigation and providing valuable wildlife habitat, with cormorants and deer visiting frequently.
Growing up, Anthony and his brother John helped their family plant and maintain the vineyards on weekends, camping in a trailer on site. The family moved to the property full time in 1986. Thirty years later, Tony Truchard still manages the farming. Truchard Vineyards has grown to a 400-acre property with 261 acres planted to vineyard since purchasing their first 20 acres.
Understanding the value of Napa’s native oak woodlands, the family has ensured 100 acres of oaks are preserved on the property, working around them in the vineyard.
Our philosophy is that the vineyard may not be here forever but the trees have been here for hundreds of years. The motivation for sustainable wine growing started with the land. Our priority is preserving the estate for future generations.
Truchard Vineyards became certified by the Napa Green Land program in 2015. Their longstanding commitment to sustainability allowed them to achieve certification almost seamlessly. The family has always seen water as a precious resource, working to capture every drop of rain. An extensive system of underground drainage returns all runoff to the reservoirs. Furthermore, 70-80% of the vineyard property has a cover crop of native rye grass that helps prevent erosion. All pruning is shredded back into the soil and all pressings and pomace are put back on the fields as compost. In addition to owl and raptor boxes, 20 rescued cats roam the property to help control pests. The menagerie of farm "helpers" is rounded out by seven beehives and a herd of 100 goats that provide weed control for a 30-acre pasture.
We're a big vineyard with a small winery, and becoming a Napa Green Certified Winery was straightforward.
The winery began operating in 1989 and since then, the family has restored an old chicken barn for wine processing and storage. Given efficient modern construction and the small scale of their winery operation, Truchard made some lighting upgrades and augmented their purchasing policy to sail smoothly through the Napa Green Winery certification process in 2016.
Truchard Vineyards also serves as an excellent model for social sustainability in the wine industry. Their winemaker and office manager have each been with the company for 18 years, their assistant winemaker has been at Truchard 26 years and they employ a 15-member vineyard crew year-round.
While there are a number of wine industry sustainability certifications available today, Anthony believes that of all the options available, "We feel that Napa Green makes the most sense regionally."