By Rick Riozza

Back around 2007 or so, I was, for the first time, at the bar in the Hilton Double Tree Hotel near South Coast Plaza, waiting to meet up with a friend.  As I was soaking down a decent Dolcetto, I spied one of the largest wine bottles in town—or, on earth probably, that was simply standing on its own and apparently holding silent night court with an audience of tourists, execs, and barflies.

In wine speak, the largest wine bottle commercially available is called a Melchizedek, which contains 30 liters of wine, or best realized as 40 bottles!  I really don’t remember the estimated cost of said bottle nor the vintage or type of varietal (certainly a red wine though) it held; but, with a bottle that large, you can believe everyone took notice that it was a wine from Trinitas Cellars—a wine and winery I hadn’t then heard of.

Some merely drink wine, while others appreciate it with a passion. Then there are those that love it so much they start their own winery. That is exactly what Tim and Steph Busch did back in 2002 when they opened Trinitas Cellars. Trinitas is a true family business, as it is currently run by their son and daughter-in-law, Garrett and Betsy with involvement from all members of the family.

Trinitas is Latin for Trinity, which of course, in Christianity, refers to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the triune God. And as I’ve come to know, Tim and Steph are very spiritual and devout Roman Catholics.  But “trinitas” also applies to the wine industry, as the winery writes: “You have the sun, soil and humanity, all key ingredients for making excellent wine.”

Of course, any California wine enthusiast will already attest to the world-class quality of Trinitas wines.  Last year, I had the honor and happiness to join a private wine tasting & luncheon held at the beautiful home of Tim and Steph Busch, who reside at the Reserve in Palm Desert.  Hosted by Trinitas’ lovely and enchanting wine wise gal and representative, Heidi Daniels, our fortunate group enjoyed several matches-made-in-heaven wine pairings.  I became a Trinitas beliver!

My son Paolo visited the Meritage Resort & Spa in Napa County a few years ago, and lo and behold, we find out that the Buschs’ are one of the owners of that property!  Indeed, the winery property abuts the resort, and, one best believes that a stellar bottle of Trinitas wine is graciously presented to the guests of the resort. 

Paolo related that Trinitas has a beautiful and elegant tasting room located in the Estate Cave, a real cave so to speak, at the Meritage Resort, offering custom flights of Trinitas wine, and, artisan chocolate pairings daily. Guests of the winery are welcome to stroll along the walking path through the eight acres of the Estate Vineyard and visit the iconic “Crusher Man” statue located above the cave.

Winery guests are also invited to dine at the Siena Restaurant where all guests can enjoy free corkage on any bottle of Trinitas wine. Paolo further adds that he and his wife ate at the Siena, having Green Papaya Salad topped with Jumbo Lump Crab and a Pappardelle Carbonara with Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops; the meal was “killer!” and he still remembers it!

Trinitas Cellars marks the 15th year in business, and this year they will be having an exciting Trinitas weekend starting on August 3rd through the 6th, over the annual Lobster Feed dinner weekend. This will be all things Trinitas, some amazing meals, incredible wine experiences with some older vintages and rare releases, blending sessions, and more! So mark your calendar, if you plan to be in Napa Wine Country, the resort and the winery would love to have you there!

Okay-okay, enough of the marketing spiel—but it’s real spiel!  By the way, I again enjoyed the company of Heidi and her portfolio of Trinitas Wines at the recent Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival.  For you fellow Coachcellians who didn’t make the event, happy days are still here!!  Heidi will be pouring her proper portfolio at the new Desert Wine Shop in Palm Desert (formally Dan’s Wine Shop) this Friday, March 31st, 4 to 7pm.  It would be great to welcome the new venue with a blockbuster wine-spree crowd.  Cheers!

And now, some Trinitas Wines for your consideration: 

2013 Chardonnay Carneros–93 points, Wine Insider: “A big California-style chard with an abundance of butter, toasted oak and rich developed flavors of lemon curd and ripe apple graham cracker; the finish is lush, a memorable Carneros.”

2014 Zinfandel Mendocino—92 points, Wine Enthusiast: “A medium-bodied Zin, sourced from Hawkeye Vineyard in Mendocino.  It opens with aromas dominated by dried cranberry, forest floor, and cinnamon spice.  The palate offers a lovely core of cherry, cranberry, with a balanced acidity.  A food friendly Zin!!”

2013 Old Vine Petite Sirah—91 points, Wine Enthusiast: “This wine is “inky”; it will stain your teeth, your clothes and your carpet…so beware!  The vineyards were planted in 1892, thus the fruit is concentrated.  A “Cab lovers” Petite Sirah with dense fruit and gripping tannins; aromatics of smokey bacon only add to its charm.”  Hopefully, you readers remember our last Petite Sirah Throwdown that  I wrote about which was held at the Wine Vault of the Desert.  A new one is coming up and I’m thinking this Trinitas Petite is well in the running!  Bonne Chance to all competitors!

Rick is your somm-about-town conducting & entertaining at the fun wine seminars & tastings held at Total Wine & More, and, at restaurant venues around town. Contact