HEALDSBURG -- Custom winery Rack & Riddle Wine Services in Hopland plans to open a 67,000-square-foot winery in Healdsburg, particularly to accommodate growing demand for sparkling wine.
Two main drivers for this expansion of the 6-year-old business are needing more floorspace for methode champenoise sparkling-wine production and being able to offer clients "Healdsburg" as the bottling location on the back bottle label, according to Bruce Lundquist, managing partner of Rack & Riddle (707-744-8100, rackandriddle.com).
"Our expansion into Healdsburg, which is the first step in our expansion plan, gives us many more opportunities to serve our customers," Mr. Lundquist said.
One such opportunity has been to recommend that wineries add a sparkling-wine label for direct sales ventures such as the tasting room, similar to the model used by a number of vintners in France, he said. Some clients have started small with a 150 cases and have increased orders as those cases sold quickly.
When the company started in 2007, it was making 5,000 cases of bubbly annually. Now, Rack & Riddle makes 40,000 cases a year, doubling from production levels a two years ago. That includes making the Rack & Riddle brand as well as sparkling-wine projects for about 50 clients, ranging from those wanting grape-to-bottle services to purchasing "shiners," or already-filled bottles without a label and ready for finishing.
At the same time, the business has grown by 40 percent in the past few years, offering stainless-steel tank fermentation and storage of 2 million gallons, producing more than 1 million cases of sparkling and table wine annually, according to the company. To further help manage the expansion, Mark Garaventa, vice president of business development, was promoted to the newly created role of general manager.
For the Healdsburg facility, Rack & Riddle signed a long-term lease for a former Clos Du Bois barrel warehouse at 451 Moore Ln. in the industrial area near City Hall. The goal is to open the facility next spring after renovation and equipment installation and obtaining state and federal alcoholic-beverage licenses for the site.
Designing the Healdsburg facility is O'Malley Wilson Westphal, the Santa Rosa-based architecture and engineering firm that designed the Hopland winery.
Bob Besancon of Coldwell Banker Giovannoni & Cooper Realty in Healdsburg represented the owners of 451 Moore in the lease.