Select Mobile Bottlers of Napa has been sold to the owner of Sonoma-based Pedroncelli Mobile Bottling.
In late August owner and operator P.J. Pedroncelli acquired Select from founder Derek Palm. The Select name, its team of eight and two mobile-bottling rigs will continue operating independently, but Palm has left the company, according to Pedroncelli.
"I thought of building another trailer, but then ability to buy Select Mobile Bottlers came along," he said.
A NASCAR series driver in his off time, Pedroncelli, 27, is related by blood but not by business to the family that has been making wine in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley since 1927. He got into the business with Ultima Mobile Bottling of Sonoma in 2009 then launched his own company in 2014 with the acquisition of a truck and trailer.
"Demand for mobile bottling is growing," he said. "A lot of new wineries and custom-crush facilities are popping up."
Bottling lines are expensive investments for wineries, particularly when the systems will be used a few times a year or less. Mobile bottlers fill the gap by rolling up to the production facilities with trailers outfitted with automated gear to get the job done. Even wineries with their own bottling lines sometimes to bring in a mobile bottler for excess capacity or special projects.
In October, Pedroncelli Mobile Bottling (pedroncellimobilebottling.com) purchased a second bottling trailer and plans to build a third this winter in the company's base at 18775 Carriger Road. That will bring the total number of rigs between the two companies to five. Up to this point, he has been operating the first rig himself, but now he's looking to staff up his company in the next few months.
"These trailers are simplified and fully automated for quicker changeovers and less downtime," Pedroncelli said. "Employees have to be very mechanically inclined and be able to diagnose problems on the fly. They have to be very good with electrical and power issues."
Select Mobile Bottlers' rigs are capable of moving through 50 and 80–85 bottles a minute. Pedroncelli's first rig has a throughput of 36–39 a minute and intended for small wineries. The new trailer can move through 50 a minute and the planned system is being designed with Bertolasso equipment for 95 a minute.
Palm could not be reached about the ownership transition. He wrote on his company Facebook page in May 2016 that he started Select Mobile Bottlers (selectmobilebottlers.com) in 2002 after getting a $500,000 bank loan to buy and outfit a 48-foot trailer. Four years later, he borrowed $1 million to build the 53-foot trailer, capable of bottling 2,500 cases a day.
He wrote about looking to retire in two years and that a vehicle accident in 1986 left him with daily headaches.
Jeff Quackenbush (email@example.com, 707-521-4256) covers the wine business and commercial construction and real estate.