Although there was a history of winemaking in Tony Truchard’s family – in Texas, to be specific – Truchard did not pursue a career in wine right out of college.
In school, he studied chemical engineering, and then switched to medicine. Ultimately, he became a medical doctor and set up a practice in the northern Nevada gaming mecca of Reno.
It was while living in “the biggest little city in the world” that Truchard’s interest in winemaking – sparked by memories of childhood days spent on that Texas vineyard property – was rekindled.
So, in the early 1970s, he trekked over the mountains on Interstate-80 and began looking for land around Napa Valley. Good fortune struck when he found a 20-acre site for sale in the upper Carneros region that was reasonably priced.
Truchard also was lucky – or, perhaps, wise – enough to befriend Francis Mahoney of Carneros Creek Winery, who was on a crusade to make the Carneros area known for world-class Pinot Noir. Under Mahoney’s watchful eye, Tony and Jo Ann Truchard began planting grapevines – Pinot Noir and other varietals – using exacting standards for selecting the clones, budding, pruning and irrigating.
Vineyard irrigation wasn’t all that common at the time, but the Truchards now are known as pioneers of the practice, given their long success growing exceptional grapes on their hillside vineyards.