Brown-Forman selling out in Paso Robles

Brown-Forman is putting up for sale its Paso Robles, Calif. winery and vineyards.

Brown-Forman currently produces Five Rivers red wines at the facility, prior to final blending and bottling at the company’s principal winery in Hopland, Calif.

When the Paso Robles winery and related vineyards are sold, Brown-Forman will continue to own the Five Rivers brand trademark and produce and market the wines. Sourcing for Five Rivers will continue to focus on grapes from the Central Coast, and production will be accomplished as it is today, with final vinification and bottling in Hopland.

In a somewhat similar move last year, Brown-Forman sold its Bolla wine production facility in Pedemonte, Italy to Gruppo Italiano Vini (GIV), while retaining ownership of the Bolla brand trademark.

“Our focus for Five Rivers will remain on producing wines reflecting the spirit of the Central Coast,” said Brown-Forman senior vice president of global production Jim Chiles. “Within our wine making operations, we continue to seek production synergies which will improve the cost structure and profitability of our wine brands while ensuring our wine quality exceeds the expectations of our consumers.”

In a related move, Brown-Forman also announced a reorganization of its wine production operations in Mendocino and Sonoma counties. A total of 24 people will be laid off, including 14 employees working at the Hopland winery complex, and another 10 at the Sonoma-Cutrer winery in Windsor, Calif.

Brown-Forman is a diversified producer and marketer of fine quality consumer products, including Jack Daniel’s, Southern Comfort, Finlandia Vodka, Tequila Herradura, el Jimador Tequila, Canadian Mist; Fetzer, Sonoma-Cutrer, Bonterra, Jekel, and Five Rivers California wines; Bolla Italian Wines; Korbel California Champagnes; and Hartmann Luggage.

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