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Moffett Vineyards - Napa Valley

93 points Wine Spectator

Even though he has literally grown up surrounded by the wine business, 41-year-old Trent Moffett has his own unique ideas on how to make his new winery successful. Begun in 2005, Moffett Vineyards of Napa Valley has emerged as one of the top boutique wineries in the storied valley and the entirety of Northern California. Trent Moffett is the stepson (since he was two) of long time Napa vintner and grower John Livingston (an ex-petroleum engineer and geologist, and founder of Livingston Vineyards) who has operated successful vineyard and winery operations since the mid 1970’s in Napa Valley. Trent attended Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo and University of the Pacific and graduated with a business degree from U of P in December of 1991.

“I went to work immediately for the family winery, and started from the ground up,” recalled Moffett in a recent interview. “I had basically grown up around the winery business but now it was time to get serious.” From the beginning, Trent Moffett used his business sense to start several new wine entities, including a number of separate brands to address different aspects of the wine business. The process proved to be great preparation for the introduction of Moffett Vineyards in 2005. Moffett Vineyards’ first release was only 800 cases (of two different wines), and the reaction from both the wine press and consumers was nothing short of dramatic.

“We have some really great vineyards and exceptional fruit to work with,” explained Moffett. “We own a 3 ½ acre parcel on Howell Mountain (considered among the finest appellations in Napa Valley) and have long term contracts with other Howell Mountain growers. We also buy from growers in St. Helena, Rutherford, Oak Knoll and even Childs Valley. We are interested in some of the subtleties that can be found in different appellations with their varying and diverse soils. At the end, our Moffett Vineyards wines have a lot of characteristics to blend together, making for more interesting wines. I think this factor gives us an edge over wines that are made from single vineyards with the same specific characteristics each and every vintage.” This year Moffett Vineyards will produce between 1400 and 1600 cases, a level that Trent Moffett feels is perfect for his smallish operation. At present, Moffett has no other employees and expects to add none in the foreseeable future.

“I do just about everything myself,” Moffett added, “from racking the barrels to selling the wines on my frequent trips outside California. I am comfortable with the present setup and my consultants help me do the rest.” Moffett Vineyards’ consultants are a throwback to John Livingston’s method of insuring superior winemaking and vineyard care. John had a great eye for upcoming talent (Randy Dunn and John Kongsgaard to name a pair) and Trent Moffett has followed the same route his stepfather took to achieve success. A talented winemaker named Jennifer Rue from Miner Family Winery is Moffett’s current consultant and another vineyard expert oversees Moffett’s vineyards when Trent Moffett is off on a selling trip.

“I’ve always felt it wise to be able to bounce ideas off other people,” he confessed. “I think that some wineries become blinded by what I call a ‘house palette’ and all they can see is their own style of wine. I want to be constantly improving our wines, and I think that needs objective viewpoints. I think this amounts to keeping in touch with what we are doing and engaging additional ideas that are working in other places.” All of Moffett Vineyards’ wines are produced at Miner Family Winery’s exceptional cave facility where Moffett has his own particular section that is solely devoted to his barrels and products. It has a gate that separates the area from the rest of the underground facility and allows Trent to easily set up trade tastings and seminars that are the lifeblood of his tiny operation.

“Life is really good right now,” finalized the personable winery owner. “We are able to put out a fine product that has been totally accepted by everyone. What’s more, I am having the time of my life, making wines that I truly enjoy and meeting wonderful people to enjoy them with. I can’t really think of anything better that I could be doing.”

Given the aforementioned, it seems reasonable that Moffett Vineyards will be around for many years to come with some new innovations scheduled for the near future.

  1. Moffett
    2006 Cabernet Sauvignon
    Napa Valley


    93 - Wine Spectator
    id: 649