Tasting room, hospitality center to remain operational at Sonoma Valley property after 'cost-saving measure'

SANTA ROSA -- Jackson Family Wines plans to shift production of the Arrowood brand this summer from its Sonoma Valley winery to the company's Cardinale winery in Oakville to bolster the bottom line.

"The change is nothing more than a cost-saving measure, to streamline operations and reduce the cost of goods sold," said spokeswoman Kelly Keagy.

Arrowood winemaker Heidi von der Mehden will be making the 20,000-case-a-year brand at the Cardinale facility and maintaining an office in Sonoma Valley to monitor grape development. She joined Arrowood as associate winemaker in 2007 and was promoted last month.

Founder and winemaster Richard Arrowood on June 21 announced his "philosophical choice" to leave Arrowood to work on his 3-year-old own brand, Amapola Creek.

"At Amapola Creek I can use the winemaking techniques I developed that contributed to the success of Arrowood, yet on a much smaller scale," he said at the time. "I strongly believe in quality without compromise and prefer to make just a few fine gems."

The Arrowood tasting room and hospitality center at the Glen Ellen property in will remain open, Ms. Keagy said.

One of the reasons the Cardinale facility was selected was that it has excess capacity and is configured for production of small-lot production of in-house and outside labels, she said. Another reason is that Cardinale has been handling certified-organic grapes for a decade.

Having excess capacity has helped Jackson Family Wines shift production of brands elsewhere while facility upgrades are undertaken. For example, the Matanzas Creek brand will be made at the Stonestreet facility after bottling is completed in coming weeks, according to Ms. Keagy. The project to upgrade crushpad and other production infrastructure could start as soon as late August.

Like Arrowood, the tasting room at Matanzas Creek will remain open.