Welcome to the John Anthony Vineyard Blog
When I moved with my family to Napa Valley in 1974, the world was just discovering its potential. Almost 40 years later Napa Valley’s stunning terroir is still preserved and John Anthony Vineyards celebrates 20 years of making wines here. I have so much to be grateful for.
The Napa Valley Ag Preserve 1968 was established just 4 years prior to my family, the Truchards purchasing land here. 1974 was also the pivotal year when Napa Valley wines took the global stage in the now famed Judgment of Paris putting these special 89,000 acres on the map of world-class wine regions. Together with luminaries including Robert Mondavi, André Tchelistcheff, Mike Grgich, Dan Duckhorn, and Larry Hyde, my father Tony Truchard joined the pioneering Napa Valley grape growing community. I grew up helping to farm our vineyards and learning what it takes to grow and craft world-class wines.
In this my 20th year in the wine industry it’s a key moment to reflect. John Anthony Vineyards has flourished under the principles and values I inherited—find the absolute best places to grow great wines and be a dedicated steward to the terroir. Terroir is everything that shapes John Anthony wines—selecting hidden-gem vineyard sites; planting the exact right varietal and clone; responding daily to the weather of the vintage; and growing the talent of our team—vineyard management, viticulture and winemaking. It is my privilege to oversee every detail using what I’ve learned alongside current practices and tools—not only for this year’s vintage, but that of the next 20 years.
As part of the next generation to steward Napa Valley, my aim is to pay it forward by emulating those pioneering vintners, especially my father, as well as being a mentor myself. I work proudly and actively in our community with essential organizations such as Napa Valley Vintners; Napa Valley Grapegrowers and Farmworker Foundation; and Winegrowers of Napa County. In celebration of our 20th year you will find John Anthony Vineyards wines poured and auctioned at iconic fundraising events including Collective Napa Valley, June 2nd, V Foundation Wine Celebration August 3rd and Harvest STOMP August 26th. It’s an honor and a joy to be able to do what I love every day and I’m humbled by the continuously growing support of our wines these last 20 years and where the next 20 years will bring us. I hope for our team, our wines and our loyal patrons that the best is yet to come.
- John Anthony Truchard
When the recent series of rainstorms blew through Napa Valley, soil erosion was minimal across John Anthony’s Napa Valley estates. Careful winter cover cropping and slope management made the difference, a reflection of John’s viticultural expertise.
We now enter the new year with an excellent reserve of soil moisture, the likes of which we have not seen since the stellar 2015 vintage.
The rainfall has been a boon to Napa Valley winegrowers, replenishing vineyard soils and water sources across the region. At the John Anthony Vineyards’ estates, the high soil moisture has set the pace for the 2023 growing season and expectations for the vintage are already high.
The persistent late December and early January rainstorms in Napa Valley were a welcome sight. In the succinct words of Sander Scheer, John Anthony Vineyards Director of Vineyard Operations at FARM Napa Valley: “It was incredible.”
Replenished soils will provide a nourishing resource for healthy shoot growth and excellent canopy development. All of this minimizes the need for supplemental irrigation early in the season.
“It’s always great when we can start off like this, with the soil moisture at what we call ‘field capacity’—fully saturated,” Sander added.“You hear a lot about vine stress translating to enhanced fruit quality and concentration, but we’re not really interested in stressing the vines until later in the growing season.”
All that said, the John Anthony Vineyard team would still like to see additional rain leading up to bud break, which typically starts in mid-March. “Once you get some days in the ’70s, especially if it’s breezy, things can start to dry out pretty quickly,” Sander says.
Erosion control is something that the John Anthony Vineyard farming team takes seriously, as part of a larger commitment to responsible farming and environmental sensitivity. Persistent heavy rains can put erosion control measures to the test, but the John Anthony estates passed with flying colors this year.
Cover crops are planted every winter, including beans, peas and vetch. Their predominant benefit is to impart natural nutrients to the soil, but they also help control erosion by binding the soil together. Such cover crops are plentiful at our valley floor estates, such as R/D and GnR vineyards in the Oak Knoll District.
Along steeper slopes, such as those found at our Twisted Oak Vineyard in the Oak Knoll District and Carneros Gap Vineyard in the Los Carneros AVA, the vineyard team seeds the ground with perennial grasses, which provide an even stronger erosion-control presence. Finally, they flake out bales of wheat straw in steeper zones of the vineyard, further inhibiting runoff.
All of these measures paid off, making the rainfall a win-win for the John Anthony Vineyards team.
Terroir and Team
In short, John Anthony’s 20th anniversary year is off to a banner start, potentially foreshadowing stellar wines from the upcoming 2023 vintage. No matter what Mother Nature brings our way, we are grateful for our farming team’s outstanding skills and dedication to growing the best wine grapes possible. Worthy of particular mention is Rene Alejo of FARM Napa Valley, awarded joint first place in the 2023 Napa County Pruning competition. We are proud and grateful for our incredible terroir, this amazing team and the exceptional wines we craft.
As a second-generation winegrower who grew up admiring Napa Valley greats such as Robert Mondavi, André Tchelistcheff, Mike Grgich and his own father Tony Truchard, vintner John Anthony Truchard places great value on the virtue of endurance.
In other words, it’s not just about making remarkable wines—it’s about cultivating a legacy.
This is why John Anthony Vineyards’ 20th anniversary in 2023 means so much to John. It marks a telling milestone in his journey and sparks the next chapter in the brand’s unfolding story.
A Year of Celebration
No moment of this magnitude should pass without commensurate celebrations, which is why we have planned 20 special events throughout 2023 to mark our 20th anniversary—all for you, our cherished LIST members and loyal supporters.
More details will unfold in the weeks and months ahead, but for now we encourage you to mark your calendars for the 20th Anniversary Soirée hosted by John on April 15th 2023, featuring coveted library wines as well as a special anniversary release. It all happens at the John Anthony Tasting Lounge in downtown Napa, where our Michelin-caliber winery chef will create delectable pairings for each of the three original John Anthony wines: Napa Valley Syrah, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (now the single-vineyard Twisted Oak Cabernet Sauvignon) and the Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.
This is one event not to be missed—and there will be many more as the year unfolds. As always, we will maintain our signature presence at BottleRock Napa Valley in May, the Napa Valley Barrel Auction in June; and our continued support of the V Foundation’s Wine Celebration and Napa Valley Grapegrower’s Harvest STOMP marking our 20th vintage. The annual John Anthony Fall Equinox Celebration will return with our highly anticipated fall release wines in September, and John will also host a limited series of exclusive vintner dinners in California, New York, Florida and Texas.
As we look forward to this milestone year, there is also a sense of coming full circle. When John struck out on his own, planted his first Oak Knoll District estate and established John Anthony Vineyards, this is exactly what he had hoped to achieve 20 years hence: an exceptional portfolio of distinctive world-class Napa Valley wines with a loyal following and an exciting future yet to be written.
As a self-made vintner who has invested greatly in the City of Napa, John has another reason to celebrate this year: he has been named the 2023 Napa Citizen of the Year by the Napa Chamber of Commerce, awarded annually “to a community member whose tireless passion and demonstration of vision for Napa serves as an inspiration to many.”
Best of all, this is a shared journey. Thank you to everyone who has supported us over the years, and if you are a newcomer to the John Anthony experience, we say: welcome. Together, we will make 2023 distinctive, luxurious and unforgettable.
Now that the 2022 vintage is in the books, we enter into a season of quiet intention.
The intensity of the harvest season may have subsided, but we remain active and excited across all facets of the John Anthony Vineyards experience. We celebrate the accomplishments of another banner year here in Napa Valley, while looking ahead to our milestone 20th anniversary.
In the Vineyard
In the vineyard, this is a time to take stock and prepare for the 2023 growing season to come. The viticulture team has been busy seeding our estates with cover crops, which in time will sprout with luscious green growth along the vine rows. These cover crops will help renew the soils with organic material, imparting nutrients that the vines will draw upon throughout the growing season.
We are also winterizing our vineyards with straw and wattles, which will provide erosion control in the event of heavy rains. Another seasonal task is to clean out the bird and owl boxes that are strategically placed around our vineyards. These boxes attract avian predators that naturally keep troublesome vineyard pests in check.
Additionally, we are looking beyond next year with new Cabernet Sauvignon plantings at our estate R&D Vineyard in the Oak Knoll District. This signature estate planted by John Anthony Truchard in 2002 remains an essential part of our best Cabernet Sauvignon program. These new vines will advance this legacy when they start producing fruit in late 2024.
At the Winery
The last of the fermentation tanks and bins have been emptied, and all of the young 2022 wines have been barreled down.
The 2022 growing season saw steady temperatures until the arrival of a sustained early September heat wave that had every winemaker on their toes from Napa Valley down through the Central Coast.
“For our whites and mid-season reds like Syrah and Merlot, we saw great flavors early on at lower maturity levels,” said John Anthony Winemaker Jeff Kandarian. “The heat wave hurried our later-ripening varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon. This can be troubling, but after tasting through several barrels they are evolving really well already. We are seeing excellent color and concentration in the reds.”
The end of this year is now punctuated with an exclusive landmark release from John Anthony—the 2017 La Dame Michele, Single Vineyard Blanc de Blanc.
La Dame Michele is the classic mark of John Anthony’s handcrafted sparkling wine program, inspired and led by John’s wife Michele. Now comes the 2017 La Dame Michele Single Vineyard Blanc de Blanc, our first estate-grown, single-vineyard release. This elegant Blanc de Blanc spent a remarkable five years en tirage. Born of the standards practiced by the great Champagne houses, this sparkling wine is ethereally bright and light with rich, creamy undertones. It has exceeded all expectations, and is now available on a first-come luxury allocation basis for those that truly appreciate exceptional sparkling wines
This wine signals the celebrations to come in 2023—most notably our 20th anniversary year since the founding of John Anthony Vineyards.
John Anthony LIST members and supporters can expect a spectacular year of events, experiences and products accessible here in Napa at our estate properties and out on the road. We look forward to announcing these in January, along with spring and fall release dates.
Join us—we cannot wait to share all that John Anthony has in store for 2023.
A Varietal Legacy
As we draw near to the 20th anniversary year of John Anthony Vineyards, we reflect on the signature grape varietal that is not only synonymous with Napa Valley, but also with our handcrafted wines: Cabernet Sauvignon.
Patience & Vision
Our story begins when second-generation Napa Valley winegrower John Anthony Truchard struck out on his own to create an exclusive namesake boutique winery. His quest was founded on vision and patience—two qualities that he’d always admired in the region’s great winemaking pioneers, including Robert Mondavi, André Tchelistcheff, Mike Grgich, Dan Duckhorn Larry Hyde and his father Tony Truchard.
John knew this would not happen overnight. And although his vision was clear, resources were limited. The first step came when John leased Twisted Oak Vineyard, the first of what would ultimately become four John Anthony Cabernet Sauvignon estates in the Oak Knoll District.
With just six acres of vines nestled on the steep hillside of Mount Veeder, Twisted Oak’s terroir provided everything John needed to produce a quintessential hillside Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Here, sun exposure varies with the contours of the land, imparting natural inflections to the fruit. The soil is clay loam over fractured shale. Yields are naturally moderate; small berries deliver purity of fruit, aromatic complexity and broad structure.
With the acquisition of Twisted Oak Vineyard, John’s new calling became tangible, with Cabernet Sauvignon leading the way.
Cabernet Sauvignon was a natural focal point for John from the start: the global “king of varietals,” and the calling card of Napa Valley the world over.
Working on his family’s wine estate in Carneros, John had personally witnessed Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon’s ascent to the upper echelons of world-class wines. John’s vision included putting his own stamp on this noble varietal, his name on the bottle and creating a following for “John Anthony Cabernet Sauvignon.” The very first vintage received a 93-point rating by Wine Spectator—the wine sold out quickly and so the John Anthony Vineyards journey began.
Coombsville Vineyard followed Twisted Oak as John’s next first-growth Cabernet Sauvignon estate. He saw immense potential in this tiny four-acre site years before the Coombsville sub-AVA was officially recognized. Here, John chose to practice “dry farming” without supplemental irrigation. This prompts the vine roots to run deep in search of moisture, ultimately creating more minerality in the wine.
Following in the footsteps of the Valley’s original winegrowers, John also head-trained the vines to help them conserve energy for the long slow growing season for which this nested AVA has become known. This form of trellising allows the vines to collect more energy from the sun. Together, dry farming and head training help balance all aspects of the terroir, producing judiciously stressed vines whose fruit is rich, complex and expressive of place.
Today, John Anthony’s Cabernet Sauvignon estates also include Calistoga Vineyard, Epps Vineyard, GnR Vineyard and R/D Vineyard. Collectively, these estates serve as the foundation of the John Anthony experience, all grown to John’s meticulous standards and vision.
Each year, these Cabernet Sauvignon estates produce John Anthony’s most coveted luxury, fine wines: the small-batch vineyard designates; the ultra-limited John Anthony Reserve composed of the best Cabernet lots from each vintage; and the pinnacle of our Cabernet Sauvignons, “The ONE.” This singular Cabernet Sauvignon is handcrafted from just a single barrel deemed to be the finest of them all. “The ONE” is an estate exclusive available only on allocation to LIST members.
Napa Valley’s Cabernet Season
As the vines become dormant, the weather cools and the evenings draw in, the recent vintage Cabernet Sauvignons are finishing up their fermentations and extended macerations. Locally we call this “Cabernet Season,” and it is the perfect time to visit the John Anthony Tasting Lounge in downtown Napa, and to taste our extensive Cabernet portfolio during this signature Napa Valley season.
Experience the world of John Anthony Cabernet Sauvignon—a legacy now 20 years in the making.