WINDSOR -- Wine Country Shipping plans to more than double the size of its Windsor facilities next year to satisfy vintner demand for casegoods storage.
Continued growth of direct-to-consumer sales of wine, particularly for smaller producers struggling to gain the attention of a dwindling number of distributors, is fueling a number of expansions of wine storage and shipping businesses. A major example is Wineshipping, which in August expanded its Napa base of operations to nearly 208,000 square feet after recently relocating from Sonoma.
Wine Country Shipping (707-836-7748, winecountryshipping.com) in September signed a lease with Airport Business Center for a 31,000-square-foot bonded storage warehouse to be built in Conde Lane Business Park in Windsor, a development already home to wineries for high-end brands DuMol and Marcassin. The new building would complement owner Dan Laskoski's wine storage, order-fulfillment and shipping businesses three-quarters of a mile north in two buildings totaling 25,000 square feet at 7686 Bell Rd.
"You need to do all these things to be competitive in today's marketplace," he said.
Mr. Laskoski started Wine Country Shipping in 1999 after selling his Santa Rosa Dental Lab. The concept came from his wife, Janice, previously manager of DHL’s Marin County hub, and sister-in-law Phylis Zouzounis, former winemaker at Mazzocco. Wine Country Shipping expanded from Santa Rosa to 10,000 square feet in Windsor in August 2005 after a surge in direct-shipping demand followed the U.S. Supreme Court's Granholm ruling that June.
A 15,000-square-foot building next door was completed in 2006 for Wine Country Cellars (winecountrycellars.net), a new business offering secure personal wine storage for highly valuable collections. It turned out there was more demand for storage of pallets of wine for small wineries, so the business model shifted building use to three-quarters for order-fulfillment and shipping, and the remainder for personal collections, according to Mr. Laskoski.
Wine Country Cellars currently stores wine for 125 producers, focusing on wineries making less than 10,000 cases a year. The operations employ two dozen full-time employees in total and another 10 to 15 during peak shipping periods. Regulatory compliance services are contracted through Colorado-based ShipCompliant.
Airport Business Center hired Del Starrett Architect of Santa Rosa to design the new Wine Country Shipping building. Design for the building includes automated refrigeration and night-air cooling systems to help guarantee constant storage temperatures.
A project application was submitted to the town of Windsor this fall, and it could be considered by the town Planning Commission as early as January. The business park already has many entitlements in place, so construction is anticipated to ready to start this spring and be finished by the end of 2013.