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Jeremy and Choral Trettavik create deep red wines in Lodi warehouse

After years of working in cellars, design studios and marketing departments, Jeremy Trettavik is getting his hands dirty

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Posted: Friday, October 11, 2013 7:48 am

A Lodi winemaking couple are currently elbow deep in foaming zinfandel juice and grapeskins. Right now, the wine that will fill the future bottles of Jeremy Wine Company label is about a week old, demanding attention twice a day.

“It’s kind of incredible that we’re doing the same work people have done for thousands of years,” said Jeremy Trettavik, owner of Jeremy Wine Company with its distinctive ‘J’ label. “Bringing in the harvest, and that’s our food for the year. That’s our mortgage.”

The modest warehouse on Black Diamond Way has only been their winery home since May of this year, but Jeremy and Choral Trettavik have stocked the place full of fermenting bins from the recent harvest.

Trettavik’s hands are stained purple, nearly black, showing the long hours.

There are a few experiments in progress. Trettavik allowed a bin of temperanillo mellow for a few days before throwing handfuls of ripe stems back in to add a note of freshness. Whatever happens will end up in a blend, or auctioned off to wine club members.

“I’ll only have about 40 harvests in my life, if I’m lucky,” he said. “I want to experiment on all of them.”

The couple focuses on creating red blends and varietals, including zin, barbera, sangiovese, temperanillo and cabernet sauvignon.

The journey to winemaking has been a roundabout one. Trettavik, a Lodi native, started working in Sebastiani’s cellars in 1994, then moved to Gnikow in Stockton where he took up sales and marketing work. He married Choral Trettavik, then a teacher, in 2003, around the same time he opened a design company to etch wine bottles. Later, the etching business morphed into designing wine labels, but that venture didn’t stick.

“We wanted something where we could control every aspect of the business ourselves,” he said. They found it in winemaking. This year marks their third harvest, but their first time producing the wine in Lodi.

The Jeremy Wine Company style is more intuitive than analytical, said Choral Trettavik.

“We like to work with incredibly passionate people,” she said. “He would work all day every day. I’m a good influence in taking days off.”

The Pine Street tasting room has a homey feel. Both owners spend as much time as they can behind the counter, connecting with their customers.

“There’s just a great energy in there,” he said. “We have some really passionate followers, and we’re lucky they bring that into the room.”

Contact Lodi Living editor Sara Jane Pohlman at sarap@lodinews.com.

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