Wine

Trinchero’s Lodi expansion won’t affect Napa County wine jobs

New crushing facility already in operation
2013-10-26T14:22:00Z 2013-10-26T15:25:46Z Trinchero’s Lodi expansion won’t affect Napa County wine jobsPETER JENSEN Napa Valley Register
October 26, 2013 2:22 pm  • 

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.

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(5) Comments

  1. Crosscountrykid
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    Crosscountrykid - October 26, 2013 3:32 pm
    What I find interesting about this story is the headline: taking the angle of how the expansion would play on local jobs. My educated guess is that over the next ten years we will see major changes in the modus operandi of the major wineries in the valley.
  2. Michael Haley
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    Michael Haley - October 26, 2013 8:32 pm
    CCK, what changes do you think? What I see is numerous new wineries coming on line, and traffic on 29 that is approaching gridlock. We have always been slow growth but seem to be abandoning that.

    With all the tourism related development and so many more people coming here and working here, I am wondering how we are going to handle all that. I fear it will overwhelm us and we will lose the ag preserve.

    The last thing we need to worry about is losing jobs, Napa is a job machine and we are better off having large wineries like those the Trincheros own processing out of county grapes in out of county facilities.
  3. winebroad
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    winebroad - October 28, 2013 11:20 am
    I think the wine industry gets a disproportionate amount of blame for the traffic, compared to the tourism industry. We seem to be building more and more hotels, with more permitted for the near future. Every development seems to have a hotel with it. The new wineries Michael Haley references are miniscule in comparison. He's right that traffic on 29 is bad and getting worse.
  4. vocal-de-local
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    vocal-de-local - October 28, 2013 12:28 pm
    There's going to be a point of no return with all this growth madness. When It backfires, tourists will just stop visiting the Valley.

    The growth involves both hospitality and winery growth.
  5. Crosscountrykid
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    Crosscountrykid - October 28, 2013 6:39 pm
    Michael, the changes I see happening center around the growing number of wineries and vineyards that are controlled and operated by mega-wineries or corporate interests far removed from Napa. Not saying this is good or bad, just inevitable. For instance, it wouldn't surprise me to find more Chinese investment in Napa County. Increasingly, economic and financial decisions will be made solely on those grounds with local considerations gradually falling by the wayside. Time magazine just ran a very interesting review of the latest edition of Johnson's The World Atlas of Wines. To put it mildly, change is afoot. Napa will weather the changes. How it's done is the question I wonder about.
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