Wine: Don Sebastiani & Sons upgrades Napa winery

Sonoma-based wine company Don Sebastiani & Sons upgraded its south Napa winery, now called Steelbird Cellars after birds that populate the area, with new bottling capabilities, high-tech treatment of water to reduce chemicals used, energy-efficient lighting and "showcase" offices and client reception area.

[caption id="attachment_56522" align="alignleft" width="140"] Donny Sebastiani[/caption]

"If there was an end-tier consumer who wanted a private tasting, I was embarrassed to show them those offices, and now it shows the sex appeal of our brands," said Donny Sebastiani, president and chief executive officer. The cost of this project is being kept private too.

The winery in the Napa County Airport industrial area hasn't had a facelift since the 2001 shift from Cecchetti Sebastiani Cellar to the new company led by Don Sebastiani, sons Donny and August, and daughter, Mia. James Jeffrey Architects and Sax and Roscoe Construction, both of Napa, led the project team.

The winery is capable of producing 2.5 million cases annually with two shifts. Production of Don & Sons brands and a few hundred thousand cases a year for custom-winemaking clients sometimes has approached that level, but it is typically about 1.8 million. In the last year, the 10 custom clients included Don & Sons sister company The Other Guys, the Indelilcato family's DFV Wines and Naked Wines, a United Kingdom-based startup that crowd-funds independent winemakers and recently leased the former Blackstone winery in Sonoma Valley.

Part of the winery improvements were for more third-party bottling business, something that picked up with the unexpectedly big 2012 crush, according to Donny Sebastiani. Those upgrades include the ability to fill 3-liter bag-in-box consumer wine packaging as well as water filtration and dechlorination.***

[caption id="attachment_66106" align="alignright" width="162"] Dana Macaulay[/caption]

Sonoma County Vintners hired Dana Macaulay as director of events. She will be managing the 200-member trade group's U.S. and international events such as Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, a joint production with Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance.

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