SONOMA — The Wine Foundry bought The Napa Juice Box custom-crush winery in south Napa, giving the “microcrush” custom vintner formerly known as Crushpad additional customers and a new home all its own.
The deal gives The Wine Foundry a place to grow while offering full control to its “hands-on” clientele and a place to host client special events in the facility tasting room, according to Steve Ryan, general manager. It has been operating out of the 30,000-square-foot Opal Moon Winery on Eighth Street East south of Sonoma since Tiburon-based CastleGate Capital Advisors acquired the assets of Crushpad and relaunched the business in August 2012.
The Wine Foundry on Tuesday purchased five industrial condominiums totaling just more than 12,000 square feet at 45 Enterprise Ct. in south Napa as well as equipment and the custom-winemaking business for an undisclosed amount. The seller was Juice Box Realty, LLC, managed by Barbara and Ira Goldberg, owners of Juice Box as well as the Edict wine brand.
“Our model is for our clients to be very hands-on in the winemaking process, and we really needed to have our own space to control our destiny and not have shared space,” Mr. Ryan said.
The Goldbergs had sold the Edict label and casegoods to Appellation Trading Company, but were planning to continue making a new family brand and serve custom-winemaking clients at The Napa Juice Box, according to Ira Goldberg. The family retained 2013 bulk wine for Edict in the brand sale and will bottle that under the new label, which is still in the approval process, he said.
The property had been quietly marketed for sale. The Wine Foundry learned of it when mutual friends at both operations met at a wine-tasting event. A few days later, a letter of intent to buy the property, equipment and custom-winemaking contracts was sent, Mr. Ryan said.
The Goldbergs were looking to complete the sale by the end of July, the close of their family investment company’s fiscal year, Mr. Goldberg said.
The Wine Foundry will work with existing custom-crush customers there and has about 50 tons of uncommitted crush capacity, Mr. Ryan said. That could be filled this year. Additional space is being considered next door at 55 Enterprise Ct.
“Over the last two years, our team has focused on executing our business model and earning the confidence of our clients,” Mr. Ryan said. “This acquisition is the next step in our evolution, which will enable us to expand our service offerings into traditional custom crush for small lot producers and work with some very talented winemakers and additional prestigious vineyards.”
The Goldbergs started The Napa Juice Box in 2009, and clients have included Tuck Beckstoffer, J Doran Vineyards, Westwood Family Cellars, Canada-based California Cult Classics, Surh Luchtel Cellars, Fortunati Vineyards, Piper Cellars, Sarita Estates, Husic, BX of Napa, Bounty Hunter, Post & Vine, Krupp Brothers, Texas-based Landon Winery, Y. Rousseau and Cult Wine Partners, according to marketing materials.
The Wine Foundry hired two cellar workers and two others from The Napa Juice Box to start preparing on Aug. 1 the winery for harvest.
The Sonoma-based company currently has 12 employees, including staff for compliance, licensing and management of order fulfillment for commercial clients. Sending orders to consumers is handled by is done by Groskopf Warehouse & Logistics’ Sonoma facility.
The Wine Foundry offers custom production services for hobbyists, vineyard owners and and budding vintners, including fruit sourcing, label design and e-commerce. This year, the company is offering grapes purchased from 28 vineyards in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Santa Barbara counties.
The Napa facility includes a modern-styled tasting room, and The Wine Foundry plans to use it for its own or its clients’ private events such as release parties and entertainment for trade representatives.
Drew Bulfer of Hoth Capital represented The Wine Foundry in the property purchase. Michael Moffett and Christopher Yeakey of Coldwell Banker Commercial Brokers of the Valley represented the seller.
Correction, July 31, 2014: The Napa Juice Box was not going to be closed on Aug. 1 without a sale of the operation, according to seller Ira Goldberg. The initial version of this story had a quote from Steve Ryan of The Wine Foundry that could be understood to say that.
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