Carlisle Winery & Vineyards (707-566-7700, carlislewinery.com) has outgrown its Santa Rosa custom-winemaking facility, so it is sort of swapping places with Windsor-based Robert Mueller Winery (707-837-7399, muellerwine.com).
For Mueller, the winery ended up being bigger than the family originally thought would be needed when it was built in 2001 and too out of the way for tasting room traffic, said Lori Mueller. They decided not to expand the brand.
"Staying this size allows us to make everything on our own and lends itself to consistency and quality," Ms. Mueller said.
Conversely, production of Carlisle needed to grow to maintain brand momentum, according to winemaker and co-owner Mike Officer.
"The waiting list was getting so long that we were concerned that people might be losing interest," he said.
If production had remained in the 5,000- to 6,000-case range as it was in 2009-2010, then it would have taken eight to 10 years for those on the waiting list to get orders, Mr. Officer said. Production increased to 7,300 in 2011 and 9,300 cases of 25 wines made from the bumper 2012 crop.
Ninety percent of sales are to the mailing list, 5 percent is sold directly to California retailers, and the rest goes to five distributors. Carlisle wines sell for $25 to $48 a bottle.
Starr Road Properties, LLC, led by Carlisle owners Mike and Kendall Officer, purchased the Mueller winery at 6301 Starr Rd. from the Mueller family on April 16 for an undisclosed sum, according to public records.
The Robert Mueller brand and inventory is set to move to the Punchdown Cellars custom facility, and the Carlisle brand is scheduled to go from Punchdown to Starr Road by this year's harvest, according to the proprietors.
With the shift to its own winery, Carlisle is installing 19 tanks, including 10 it already had, as well as a press and destemmer-crusher. Winemaker-viticulturist Jay Maddox will remain.
The Starr Road winery is allowed to produce up to 10,000 cases a year, but Mueller only makes 4,000. Punchdown allows a great amount of control over production, Ms. Mueller said. That's part of the reason Carlisle has been there for 15 years, Mr. Officer said.
Mueller is set to relocate its tasting room in June to a 1,000-square-foot location in Healdsburg. The Muellers built a large custom winery in Healdsburg in 1991 and started their own brand in 1994. The winery was producing 250,000 cases annually by the time they sold it to Silver Oak Cellars in 2001.
Three-quarters of Mueller brand sales are direct to consumers via the wine club and tasting room. Most of the rest is sold to California restaurants, and a little goes to distributors. Wine bottle retail prices range from $23 for sauvignon blanc to $48 for the best-selling Emily's Cuvee.***
Spelletich Family Wine Company of Napa Valley is moving its operations into 16,180 square feet in the Napa Valley Commons business park in south Napa to fulfill its need for expansion. That's more than twice the amount of space at its previous location.
“We now have a facility zoned for wine production and consumption, allowing us for the first time to have a tasting salon on site," owner Kristen Spelletich said. "We are now much closer The Meritage Resort & Spa and to other wineries located at the Commons, many of whom are longtime friends.”***