Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"Diageo Shutters Rosenblum Winery, Moves Production to Napa"

 (Wine Spectator):

Not *quite* as alarming as it first reads, but pretty alarming nonetheless: Diageo, which bought Rosenblum a couple of years ago and has been clearing out its warehouses of slower-selling highly rated bottles at bargain prices, is cutting costs by consolidating winemaking at a Napa facility, along with other wineries it owns such as Beaulieu and Chalon.

The Rosenblum tasting room will remain in Alameda, in the former Naval Air Station hanger on the island near Oakland, CA; however, a tasting room Rosenblum had opened two years ago in Healsbrug will be shuttered.

Equally interesting, the article says Diageo is discontinuing some of Rosenblum's most highly rated wines, for example, the Monte Rosso Zinfandel -- which explains why they are having a 25% byh-case discount sale on the 2007 bottling for Rosenblum Club members. Their Monte Rosso, retailing at $45, is one of their premiere Zins and one of my very favorites. St Peter's Church, which I find less interesting but which is much liked by others, is also being discontinued.

Rosenblum's quarterly Open House takes place Saturday, May 22, at the Alameda facility; might be a good opportunity to pick up some discounts. The event charges $25 for Club members buying tickets online beforehand.

The article quotes founder Kent Rosenblum as being disappointed. No doubt. I've heard him, and some close to him, talk of his frustration with what he calls the "bean coutners" at Diageo. Of course, Diageo is suffering financially like every other business in the current economy; not to say their cost-cutting choices are the same ones Kent would make if he had control.

But there is good news amid the gloom: The Monte Rosso and St. Peter's Church grapes Diageo is walking away from are now available to Kent's daughter, Shauna Rosenblum, for her nearby Alameda winery, Rock Wall; so all is not lost. Shauna does a top-notch job at Rock Wall; if you have a chance to check out her work, it's worth the trip to Alameda.