Relocating from St. Helena; a Napa ‘thank you’
SANTA ROSA — A 46-year-old custom fabricator and dealer of winery equipment has expanded to Santa Rosa after decades in Napa Valley.
TCW Equipment (707-963-9681, tcw-web.com), formerly known as The Compleat Winemaker, moved to a nearly 10,000-square-foot space at 2975 Dutton Ave., Unit C, giving the company more room for inventory and the repair and fabrication shop. The company had occupied about 6,500 square feet of warehouse and showroom space at 955 Vintage Ave. in St. Helena.
TCW sells a range of products, supplies and equipment for wine and olive oil production. The nine-person company is a dealer for equipment such as Kohem bottling lines, Mori destemmer-crushers, Jabsco flexible impeller pumps and Ragazzini peristaltic pumps, which “knead” wine through flexible tubing rather than churning, as in conventional pumps. Sales are shipped around the U.S. and world.
“This move allows us to keep our prices low and, ultimately, will add more value to our customers,” said Curt Caviness, a mechanical engineer and owner since 1997.
Warehousing and manufacturing real estate in Santa Rosa was half the cost of Napa and a fraction of the cost of St. Helena, he noted. The asking monthly rental rate per square foot for the Santa Rosa space was 55 cents, compared with $1.35 for TCW’s former space in St. Helena, according to listings by brokerages Keegan & Coppin and Coldwell Banker Commercial Brokers of the Valley, respectively.
In addition to being a dealership, TCW has a four-person shop with two electronics technicians and two welders. Most of the equipment comes in without motors or electrical components, because customers often have specific electrical voltage and phase needs, according to Mr. Caviness. The welders make fittings and create custom-assembled equipment such as semiautomatic monoblock bottling lines adapted for inserting corks or spinning down screwcaps on special winery products, such as labels exclusive to clubs or tasting rooms.
“That makes us very flexible relative to equipment supply,” Mr. Caviness said.
One of the components the shop does manufacture is a rinser-sparger, which is placed near the beginning of a bottling line. Much of the export sales come from in-house manufactured and value-add work, he said. Significant international buyers are dealers serving sake and grape wineries in Japan, with 10 to 15 rinser-spargers going to that country annually.
Wine sales, including in the over-$15-a-bottle segment, have been rebounding from the 2009 slump in the past two years. Yet TCW’s sales at roughly $2 million a year have been about the same as previous years’ revenues, according to Mr. Caviness.
The move to Santa Rosa also allows TCW to be more centrally located in North Coast wine country, he said. In what is being called a thank-you to the Napa Valley business community, TCW Equipment is covering shipping costs to Napa Valley for orders of more than $50 through the end of this year. The company started in the East Bay city of Albany in 1966 then moved to Yountville followed by three St. Helena locations.
“We will remember St. Helena fondly,” he said.
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