Sonoma-based Cecchetti Wine Co. reported that it had its third year of volume sales growth. Roy Cecchetti's goal of making lower-priced wines has resulted in 200,000 cases sold in 2010, a 39 percent increase from 2009. The winery is projecting sales of 250,000 cases total this year.
The California appellation Redtree brand increased 26 percent to 137,000 cases, and the volume of the Lake County-focused Line 39 brand doubled to 63,000 cases. They retail in chain stores at bottle prices of $6 to $8 for Redtree and $9 to $11 for Line 39. Exports expanded to Thailand, Hong Kong, Denmark, Poland, Germany, France, Ireland, Brazil and the Caribbean.
The company recently launched the Backhouse cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, merlot, chardonnay and pinot grigio wines for sale in restaurants and other on-premise settings. The bottle retail price is $7.
"Many of our wholesale partners expressed a strong demand for an affordably priced wine that could be offered to restaurants for their by-the-glass programs," Mr. Cecchetti said.
[caption id="attachment_30847" align="alignleft" width="108" caption="Raul Lau of Welch Vineyard won Mendocino Winegrape and Wine Commission's 10th annual vineyard pruning contest on March 1. (MendoSocial Media.com photo)"][/caption]
Winners of Mendocino Winegrape and Wine Commission's 10th annual vineyard pruning contest were, in order, Raul Lau of Welch Vineyard, Alejandro Oliveras also of Welch, Guillermo Martinez of Beckstoffer Vineyards, Cornelio Morales of Middleridge Vineyard and 2010 first-placer Gabriel Navarro of Roederer Estate.
On March 1, Mr. Lau pruned nearly 30 feet of Clone 1 syrah vines at Jaxson Keys Winery in Hopland in four minutes 11 seconds, winning $1,000. Mr. Oliveras won $500, and Mr. Martinez $250.
Winners of Sonoma County Winegrape Commission's 2011 pruning contest on Feb. 25 were, in order, Juan Hernandez of La Prenda Vineyard Management, Manuel Chavez of Silver Lining LLC, Javier Torres of Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards and Leobardo Lopez of Clendenen Vineyard Management.
Winners of Napa Valley Grapegrowers' 10th annual pruning contest Feb. 10 at Beringer Vineyards' Gamble Ranch were, in order, Benjamin Vega of St. Supery Vineyards & Winery, Jesus Juarez of Moulds Family Vineyards, Francisco Canseco of The Napa Valley Reserve and Jose Alfredo Segura of Spring Mountain Vineyards.
A California Department of Industrial Relations Division of Labor Standards Enforcement opinion letter has added new wrinkles to the quandary over whether student interns have to be paid at least minimum wage as employees, according to Jennifer Phillips, an employment and real estate attorney with Dickenson Peatman & Fogarty in Santa Rosa.
On the firm's blog, Lex Vini, she wrote that the department has moved from its own 11-part test to a six-element standard used by the U.S. Department of Labor. The 17-page letter listed those six criteria.
1. Training parallels that of a vocational school, even though it includes real work for the organization.
2. Training benefits the students.
3. Students don't replace regular employees but are under their close supervision.
4. Employers derive no immediate advantage from the activities of trainees or students. Occasionally, operations may be hindered.