Spain-based Rivercap is setting up manufacturing plant in Benicia to make polylaminate and PVC plastic capsules to top wine and spirits bottles.
The 26,500-square-foot plant will "increase responsiveness" for Rivercap customers in North America and tighten the partnership between the capsule supplier and its exclusive distributor on the continent, according to Jose Saenz, chief executive officer of Rivercap USA Inc.
"I am confident that our new manufacturing center will streamline our operations, elevate the customer experience, and enhance the relationship between Cork Supply USA and Rivercap," Mr. Saenz said. "We will be in a position to build long-term strength and success."
The new plant, scheduled to open Dec. 1, will be located next to the headquarters of Cork Supply USA, which in January became the exclusive distributor for both Rivercap and Sparflex capsules to North American vintners and distillers. Cork Supply USA already had been distributing Rivercap capsules.
In April 2010, France-based sparkling wine foil and wire hood specialist Sparflex and Rivercap announced they would combine wine and spirits plastic capsule production at Sparflex's Ukiah plant, which opened nearly four years ago.
Two Napa Valley wine properties sold recently for a combined $51 million to investors from China, and more Asian investors are shopping for local luxury assets.
A Fremont-based affiliate of Goldin Financial Holdings, a Hong Kong-based publicly traded company, purchased the 40-acre Sloan Family Winery property in Rutherford on June 10 for $40 million, according to property records and regulatory filings. The deal didn't include the Sloan brand, which had been fetching a few hundred dollars a bottle since its first release in 2004. The property has a French chateau and several thousand square feet of cave cellars.
In a regulatory filing explaining the purchase, Goldin Financial Chairman Pat Sutong wrote that wine in Hong Kong and the rest of China has become "a social status symbol especially among the newly formed middle classes in China."
"The demand for wine is increasing at extremely high speed," he wrote. "With the implementation of tax free policy on wine since 2008 and the huge demand from China, the board considers that Hong Kong [will] gradually became one of the world’s largest wine auction centers."
In addition to the Sloan purchase, Goldin Properties Ltd., which is building a 20 million-square-foot Goldin Metropolitan city-like development in the Tianjin southeast coastal suburb of Beijing, plans to spend $30 million building a wine distribution center in China big enough to store 7.7 million bottles of wine. Goldin Financial got into wine sales last year and sold the equivalent of $12.8 million.
In another 40-plus-acre Napa Valley deal, the Zhang family acquired the Frazier Family Estate Winery vineyard and private residence on Lupine Hill Road and Rapp Lane overlooking Napa Valley Country Club. The Frazier family filed for Bankruptcy Court reorganization protection late last year to allow time to sell the properties to pay debt.
Zhang's Winery Inc., based in San Marino, acquired the Lupine Hill Vineyard in April for $3 million, or $205,000 an acre. The adjacent family home, winery, 11-plus acres of vines and 9,800 square feet of wine caves sold to the Zhang family the following month for $7.9 million, according to public records and listing broker Robyn Bentley of St. Helena-based Wine Country Consultants. Ming Hua of Dawa Investment & Realty of Pasadena represented the Zhang family.