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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, September 16, 2013, 6:30 am

Bruni Glass to expand to Fairfield

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    BENICIA — Bruni Glass Packaging, Inc., which supplies the wine industry with bottles, capsules and closures, plans to consolidate its warehouses and showroom here to one larger facility in Fairfield this fall.

    This is the second major planned expansion by a wine-bottle supplier from Benicia to Fairfield.

    Bruni Glass Packaging (707-752-6200, www.bruniglass.com) signed a seven-year, three-month lease for 88,000 square feet of warehouse and office space at 2750 Maxwell Way in Fairfield. Currently, the West Coast sales and distribution functions in Benicia are spread between three warehouses and a showroom, totaling 72,000 square feet. The goal is to bring those functions together under one roof by Nov. 1, according to Teri Kisle, operations manager.

    “It’s more central to the wine business,” Ms. Kisle said.

    Jean-Pierre “J-P” Giovanni, former head of Saverglass’ Napa operations, joined Bruni Glass Packaging in February as vice president of sales and marketing to help continue growth in wine-bottle orders. The company also serves the spirits, pharmaceutical and food industries. In addition to a surge in orders for standard shapes of wine bottles, a significant driver for the company’s securing more efficient logistics facilities, there has been more interest from emerging premium-wine areas for upscale custom bottle designs, according to Mr. Giovanni.

    “It typically was mostly in the Napa area, but now we’re seeing that in Paso Robles,” he said. “It’s not a big trend, but it’s a sign the wine industry overall is doing well.

    Sales volume for Bruni Glass Packaging also has expanded by incorporating more lower-cost, faster-delivery options, namely from suppliers in Asia and North America. As the consistent quality of bottles made in China has improved, California winemakers have been more willing to buy them, saving as much as 25 percent to 40 percent in cost and lead times on orders a fraction of what’s required from European plants, according to Mr. Giovanni.

    No room to expand

    Because of a rapid reduction in the amount of larger industrial spaces in Solano and southern Napa counties, the packaging company couldn’t find that much space in American Canyon, the desired first choice for its even closer proximity to wineries, or even in Benicia, according to Ms. Kisle

    More than 1 million square feet in leases were signed in those markets just in the first half of this year, according to Brooks Pedder, who oversees the Fairfield and Walnut Creek commercial real estate offices of Colliers International.

    A few build-to-suit projects that are ready to go south of Napa and in Solano County couldn’t have space ready in time for the company’s needs, Ms. Kisle said. Construction started in May on a 320,000-square-foot distribution center in Fairfield leased to Encore Glass, which is currently also in Benicia. A second building is planned for that project, and speculative construction is set to start in coming months on two large southern Napa Valley wine-related warehouse projects.

    Bruni Glass Packaging started in 2005 and has East Coast operations in Montreal. Bruni Glass of Milan, Italy, started a U.S. division in 1997. The glass container business of APM was acquired in 2004.

    The company employs 12 full-time in Benicia, supplemented by temporary staffing of 20.

    Jeff Traynor and Graden Travis of Cornish & Carey Commercial Newmark Knight Frank represented Bruni Glass Packaging in the Fairfield lease deal in early August. Mr. Pedder and Tony Binswanger of Colliers International represented the property owner, Sam & Sandra Sarkissian Trust.

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