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Scion of Sutter Home wine empire arrested on suspicion of drug, gun and assault weapon crimes

Source: SF Chronicle

Scion of Sutter Home wine empire arrested on suspicion of drug, gun and assault weapon crimes

November 15, 2022

A former rising star of the prominent Napa wine family behind Sutter Home was arrested Friday, Nov. 11, on suspicion of three felony gun crimes and one misdemeanor drug offense.

Carlo Trinchero, 35, who oversees the highest-end labels of his family's empire, Trinchero Family Estates, was taken into custody by the Napa County Sheriff's Department after deputies found 11 guns at his residences, sheriff's officials said. He has been barred from possessing firearms since 2017, when he was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend.

Trinchero was booked on suspicion of being a convicted felon in possession of a gun, being a convicted felon in possession of ammunition, unlawfully possessing an assault weapon banned in California, and drug possession.

He was released from custody the same day after posting $50,000 bail. As of Monday, county prosecutors had not filed formal charges.

Trinchero Family Estates and Trinchero's attorney, Sheri Chlebowski, both declined to comment.

Trinchero Family Estates is the third-largest wine producer in the U.S., according to Wine Business Monthly, and produces 20 million cases annually. Most notably, the company founded the ubiquitous Sutter Home brand in 1948. Over the past two decades, the family has steadily grown its portfolio to more than 50 wine and spirits brands, including Ménage à Trois wines and Tres Agaves Tequila. Roger Trinchero, Carlo Trinchero's father, was CEO of the company between 2004 and 2017.

In recent years, the company also shifted its focus to the premium wine category in which Carlo Trinchero, director of the company's Elite Collection, has played a major role. In 2007, the family completed construction on a second St. Helena estate, Trinchero Napa Valley.

The recent arrest comes six years after Carlo Trinchero was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend and an EMT that was assisting her. According to court documents, Trinchero threw his girlfriend in a closet during an argument; she was knocked unconscious when her head struck a shelf. The EMT reported that Trinchero pushed him to the ground and punched him.

Trinchero pleaded no contest to domestic violence charges and was sentenced to 180 days in jail and three years of probation.

The woman, the former Stephanie Will, and Trinchero were married in 2017 and have two daughters. In June of this year, Carlo Trinchero filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences.

Stephanie Trinchero filed for a restraining order against her husband in August. In court documents, she described him as "dangerous and unpredictable." She also alleged that he was using methamphetamine and was "prone to rage." That restraining order expired in October, but she filed for another protective order Monday after Trinchero was released on bail.

Stephanie Trinchero's attorney, Johanna Kleppe, declined to comment.

Trinchero was arrested Friday after the Napa County Sheriff's Office received an anonymous tip regarding firearms and ammunition, according to Henry Wofford, a sheriff's spokesperson.

The department obtained a search warrant for Trinchero's two Napa Valley properties, Wofford said. Deputies stopped Trinchero in his vehicle on Friday morning after they saw him leave one of his residences. Wofford said detectives found less than 1 gram of methamphetamine during the stop.

After being brought back to his residence on Napa Valley's Second Avenue, Trinchero informed detectives he had firearms at his other property, located on Highway 128.

Of the 11 firearms seized from his property, Wofford said, one was an AR-15 rifle with assault weapon features, including a pistol grip and collapsible stock. Detectives also reported finding several magazines and cases of ammunition during their search.

Wofford said that Trinchero cooperated with detectives and was booked at the county jail "without incident."

Trinchero is due to appear in court Jan. 20 if he is charged.


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