St. Helena-based Trinchero Family Estates is undergoing a large expansion of its facilities in Lodi, with plans to double its production there to 200,000 tons of grapes annually.
The move won’t affect employment at Trinchero’s St. Helena operations, as its Napa Valley facilities will remain dedicated to processing fruit from local and coastal vineyards, said Trinchero spokeswoman Nora Feeley.
The multiyear project in Lodi should add about 400 jobs to the company, with no corresponding job loss in Napa County, Feeley said. The new crushing and processing facility in Lodi is already operating, and a new bottling and distribution center is on schedule to open in mid-2015, she said.
While Trinchero will be crushing less fruit overall at its St. Helena facilities, it will be crushing more grapes from Napa County and the coastal counties for the company’s luxury and mid-luxury brands, Feeley wrote in an email.
As the fourth-largest U.S. wine producer, Trinchero crushes about 250,000 tons of fruit for its 35 brands, which include Sutter Home, Menage à Trois, Trinity Oaks, Napa Cellars and Taken Wine Co., among others, said Bob Torres, senior vice president of operations.
Historically, Trinchero had processed all its wine in Napa County, but it started operations in Lodi in the late ’90s, Torres said. It’s invested $300 million in those facilities, including the expansion, since 1999.
But with much of its grapes being sourced in Lodi and the surrounding region, particularly white zinfandel for Trinchero’s Sutter Home brand, the Central Valley expansion was warranted.
The lack of adequate facilities was leading Trinchero to shift product between Napa County and Lodi at various stages of the production process, creating a lot of truck trips between the two locations, Feeley said.
But with the expansion in Lodi, Torres said, the company plans to have a fully integrated facility there that would be able to house the crushing, fermenting, storage and bottling processes in one location.
The current facility in Lodi has the capacity to crush and process 100,000 tons of fruit, but Trinchero wants to double that, he said.
The new facility contains several crushers and presses, V-bottom fermenters and 50 million gallons’ worth of tank storage, according to Torres.
The expansion will also feature high-speed bottling and automated shipping, with more than 4 million cases in capacity.
Company-wide, the expansion in Lodi should help provide for Trinchero’s needs for up to 30 million cases in production in the near future, Torres said.
Feeley declined to provide the company’s case or sales volume for 2012.