The humble road to grape success

PHUKET: Romance, contrary to popular lore, isn’t why people get into the wine business.

Friday 13 July 2012, 01:27PM

True, many have naively taken the plunge based on images of life as a country squire, but they are the source of the riposte, “The quickest way to make a large fortune small is to open a winery.” It’s really about making money and spending wisely.

Hard work coupled with a few breaks don’t even assure success in this highly competitive business, but once achieved the rewards can be sublime.

A group of Thai hospitality and wine industry executives recently learned first hand how success in California’s Napa Valley can, when properly handled, lead to gratification on many fronts.

From a defunct winery called Sutter Home purchased and reactivated in the 1940s by Mario and John Trinchero, their sons and grandchildren now operate five wineries, farm 7,000 acres of vineyards and supply the equivalent of 240 million 750 ml bottles of wine to a thirsty global market.

Luck parlayed with savvy marketing played a part in the Trinchero’s rise to wine prominence. In the mid-1970s winemaker Bob Trinchero discovered that a tank of popular rosé wine made from zinfandel grapes failed to completely ferment leaving it slightly sweet.

They offered it for sale in their tasting room under the name White Zinfandel and were surprised when it sold out within one week.

Today the vastly expanded Sutter Home winery produces White Zinfandel at the rate of 4 million cases per year. This marketing coup led to a string of wise decisions based on the family principle of “a great product for a fair price.”

Hiring talented help has remained a priority and has included the exceptional promotional skills of a former hotel food and beverage director, Barry Wiss.

Wiss put his own spin on a popular TV game show Wheel of Fortune by placing small bottles of aromas commonly associated with wine at each peg on the wheel.

Challenging winery visitors to play the game not only expands their sensory abilities but associates fun and allegiance to Trinchero wines.

Making the best of their good fortune the Trinchero’s recently opened of a state of the art premium winery where Trinchero Napa Valley wines are now being produced in precious amounts for collector’s cellars.

A full circle for a family dedicated to hard work while remaining humble in success.



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