Napa Valley’s next generation of deer hunters, Porsche racers

skeleton_robots_wineThe SF Chronicle has a piece on the next generation of Napa Valley vintners. Here’s a snippet of what they’re up to:

Young, ambitious and eco-friendly, with hobbies like deer hunting and Porsche racing, the next generation of California’s wine heirs is coming of age…

Ah, yes, eco-friendly Porsche racing! Funny, with this lot, you think they’d be Scions. Anyway, there’s more:

[Loren] Trefethen had been watching TED talks and attending Summit Series events, invite-only weekend escapes at a private ski resort, and he decided to host his own event series. The Trefethen Table, as he calls it, is a dinner series curated by Trefethen and Hebb. Guests – like Gary Friedman, the CEO of Restoration Hardware, and Ido Leffler, the founder of SayYes – sit around an enormous tabletop and discuss previously arranged topics, like the art of conversation, the ocean, health and “the paradox of density.”

And now he wants to make a reality TV show out of these talks.

Janet Viader: “We get together once a month, and there’s some laughing and joking. Every now and then it’s a bitch-fest about working with family.”

“Alex Kongsgaard works for his family’s winery and on the side makes a line of wines he calls Skeletons vs. Robots (an Albarino and a Zinfandel). He draws the labels himself with a Sharpie.”

“Will Harlan came home to Napa after trying his hand at a price comparison startup. In October, he debuted Mascot, a cheaper version of his family’s high-end wine (Harlan wines can go for $750 to wine club members; the Mascot costs $75).”

So much win! Check out the full article for an inside look at this rare breed.

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12 Responses to “Napa Valley’s next generation of deer hunters, Porsche racers”

  1. just regular guys like you and me, racing Porsches and inviting CEO’s to dinner at the family winery

  2. Pretentous Douche Bags!

  3. There are many ‘second’ and ‘third’ generation wine folk, in Napa Valley,who put their pants on the same way most everyone else does – before going to do a long, hard day of work. One difference might be that many do imbue the passion for what they make the same way the first generation did. This article makes a number of ‘second gens’ look part of the lucky sperm club – not a great expression of a high form of agriculture – too bad.

  4. This article is just sound bites. Knowing one person mentioned in this article I can report that the person is VERY disappointed with it. Much of what they discusssed was left out. It appears the writer had a set concept in mind and was fishing for quotes to make the story.

  5. @John Andrews: The Trefethen twitter account tweeted a virtual high five to Nellie Bowles, the author of the story, after it ran, saying “TY for the great piece on Wine country Next Gen.” So I guess they were pleased with the portrayal.

    As to others mentioned in the story, it would be unfortunate if their remarks were taken out of context. However, grousing about remarks being taken out of context is also an age-old retort to an article that didn’t come out as flattering as the subject had intended. How does your friend feel the story was a misrepresentation?

  6. @John Skupny – It did seem encouraging that they are willing to experiment with new grape varieties, packaging and social media. Perhaps if it were in the wine section, it might have focused on wine style more. Certainly there has been a lot of coverage in the wine media about younger Cali winemakers and stylistic shifts in recent years.

  7. @Dr Vino … agreed. Taking quotes out of context is part of the game. My friend does feel misrepresented in the fact that the article was mainly about the Trefethens and not really about the NextGen group. If the article wanted to cover the NextGen group, they should have been given appropriate coverage.

    This to me, reads as a NextGen Trefethen article with some outside quotes.

  8. I find the SF Chronicle’s uncritical celebration of these caricatures of moneyed millennials as the model for next generation winemaking worse than the subjects of this article itself.

    Whether these people are the real deal or not, and whether they represent a movement or not is irrelevant. That this narrative is presented laudingly in a major metropolitan newspaper is depressing.

  9. The “In Pursuit of Beauty” article that RH Drexel did for the Napa Valley issue of Loam Baby was much more on-point regarding the NextGen in Napa. Free to read at

    So much more going on up there.

  10. Great find. I worked at a small winery for a couple of years in the late 90s, and the place was already full of insufferable douchebags. It’s only gotten worse since: ridiculous, over-the-top people making ridiculous over-the-top wines that fewer and fewer people are paying attention to.

    Napa Valley wine is a lot like the leisure suit. It was all the rage for a decade,. but today is looked back on with a mixture of embarrassment and amusement……a ridiculous relic of a tasteless era best forgotten.

  11. Bill- having lived in St. Helena for thirty years I have met douche bags from every corner of the world, sorry I missed you when you visited. Just wondering if you arrived with an attitude or discovered it when you got kicked out of Pancha’s for being too loud and obvious?

  12. I want to meet this guy, John Skupny… dude tells it like it is.


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