The Trione family appointed Scot Covington winemaker in 2005, in time for him to collaborate closely on the design of their new winery, Trione Vineyards & Winery. Scot brought years of relevant experience to the project. After graduating from California State University, Fresno in 1990 with a B. S. degree in Agricultural Science, Enology, Scot worked in Sonoma County and abroad. His mentors are legendary; his winemaking is influenced by years of training under such icons as Bill Bonnetti and Merry Edwards.
Scot began his winemaking career during the 1989 harvest at Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards, under the guidance of Chardonnay master Bill Bonnetti. “We experimented with every aspect of Chardonnay production, working on vineyard and cellar techniques that are common place today,” recalls Scot. “Sonoma-Cutrer was on the cutting edge of winemaking technology. It was an exciting environment for a beginning winemaker.” Reflecting on those years, Scot remembers Bill Bonnetti as “a detail-oriented perfectionist who shared his knowledge.”
Scot moved beyond Chardonnay and broadened his experience at Marimar Torres Estate where he worked as Enologist in 1995. Here his fascination with Pinot Noir began. In the late 1990s Scot further developed his winemaking skills in South Africa (Vergelegan Estate) and Australia (Rosemount Estate in Hunter Valley and Yalumba in Barossa Valley).
A native Californian, Scot returned to his home state and favorite wine growing region: Sonoma County. In 2001 he met Merry Edwards who then served as consulting winemaker for the Pellegrini family, owners of the esteemed Olivet Lane Vineyard. The Pellegrini’s were beginning to build a winery on their Russian River Valley property. Merry hired Scot to be winemaker and on-site construction manager. Working closely with Merry, Scot gained important experience in winery design and small lot wine production.
In 2005, when the Trione family decided to build their legacy winery on their Home Ranch in Alexander Valley, they searched for a winemaker with design, construction and wine production experience – a tall order that Scot filled. “The Triones basically gave me a blank piece of paper and said ‘Design your winery.’” Scot envisioned a straightforward facility, customized to accommodate small lots and hands-on winemaking. “I wanted a series of open fermenters and a basket press,” says Scot, “and we designed around those two primary features.” He calls the cellar a “winemaking studio.” Attractively constructed with an east/west orientation, it offers an embracing view of the Trione’s estate vineyards in Alexander Valley.
Living a winemaker’s dream, Scot has his choice of the finest grapes grown on the Trione family’s vineyards in the Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Sonoma Coast AVAs. He selects the top three percent of grapes from just close to 700 acres of vineyard. His goal: make wines that express the highest level of quality across all varieties produced from estate grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and Zinfandel.
“It is an honor to work with a wonderful family that brings the best they have to the industry, community and customers.”
- Scot Covington