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Remembering Christian Troussieux

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January 10th – Christian Troussieux, 61, of Napa, California, passed away on December 22, 2023, after a year-long battle with cancer. Christian was born in Cannes, France, on July 18, 1962, to Lucien and Concetta (Janet) Troussieux. The Troussieux family immigrated in 1964 to the San Francisco Bay Area, where Christian spent his formative years. Christian graduated from San Jose State and spent the first third of his career in technology at the dawn of the tech boom.

After the tech downturn, Christian followed his passion and pivoted to the wine industry in 2002. Striking out on his own, with neither industry contacts nor network to rely upon, he relocated to Napa and joined the tasting room at Cuvaison Winery. Within six months, Christian was managing their Wine Club. He then moved to Saddleback Cellars in 2005 to work with Nils and Kirk Venge. Once Kirk worked to restore and build Venge Vineyards at the historic Rossini Ranch property, Christian joined him, becoming General Manager in 2006.

Meanwhile, Christian was establishing a unique tradition with a private venture to bottle wine. With investment from family and friends enticed by the opportunity to secure a quality Cabernet for themselves, Christian partnered with winemaker Eric Gordon, then of Fantesca Estate Winery. The group purchased a couple of barrels of wine made from grapes from an esteemed vineyard and then all got together to bottle in the DeBlauw’s garage, followed by a great party of course. According to Mike, “Let’s just say that wine left a lasting impression as we did not quite filter it properly and it left a rather dark red mustache over our lips.” The experience motivated Christian to “do better next time,” and better he did. With persistence and improved skills, time, and equipment, the event grew over the years to involve “several dozen friends sharing in the envious experience of bottling our own wine.” The final 2018 vintage was bottled in 2020.

In 2007, Christian established Mobile Wine Services, later merging the company with VinPure, which he founded in 2011. His business serviced wineries from Southern California to Eastern Washington. In 2015, Christian had an idea for installing a counter pressure bottling line into a trailer, partnering again with Gordon to cofound Brut Bottling—one of the first mobile bottling companies that provided wineries an opportunity to make sparkling wine. Eric recalls that “Chris and I were a great fit. We had complimentary skill sets, Chris with sales and financing, me with winemaking and operations, and both of us with good mechanical skills. Neither of us minded getting our hands dirty, so we rolled up our sleeves and got to work. Working with Chris never felt like a co-worker situation. It was two friends hanging out, telling jokes, some appropriate in polite company (most not), and just getting done what needed to be done.”

Christian was a lifelong innovator and a true entrepreneur, and his generosity was legendary. Amidst the rigors of running several businesses, he always made time for others, and in conversation, made them feel they were the only ones who mattered. His impact on Napa Valley is keenly felt by the friends he made across every sector of the wine industry.

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