One of the North Coast’s biggest distributors of wine corks plans to make its presence in the region even larger.
Portocork America Inc., the North American distributor for Portocork International of Portugal, plans to build a 54,700-square-foot facility in the Napa Valley Gateway Business Park south of Napa. Though the footprint isn’t significantly larger than the company’s current headquarters around the corner, it will be significantly more efficient, according to Dustin Mowe, president and CEO.
“We have outgrown our current facility,” he said. “The company has grown tremendously in the past 10 years-plus.”
Revenue growth has been in double digits for each of the last 10 years and is running about 14 percent ahead of this time last year, Mowe said. The volume of orders also has increased.
The 44-employee company currently occupies 44,000 square feet at 560 Technology Way in the same business park. Problem is, the building’s warehouse ceiling isn’t high enough.
“We can’t put raw materials on high-density racking because we don’t have the clear height,” Mowe said. “Now we have to use a lot of outside storage, especially in the busy season. We will have 100 percent under one roof.”
Much of the growth in the past 12 months has come from the rollout of the 100 percent TCA-free guarantee for punched natural corks in January 2016. The TCA mold compound — 2,4,6-trichloroanisle — is the chief culprit for wine “taint.”
The Portugal parent company originally planned for the premium guarantee service to be for top-end stoppers bound for bottles retailing for $100-plus. Trouble was, clients wanted the service for all their corks, across price points, Mowe said.
“Our biggest problem is not have enough capacity,” he said.
The Portugal plant initially installed three processing lines for the guaranteed corks, but now it has 10. And it’s still not enough to meet demand from existing clients, no less new clients, Mowe said.
Portocork America purchased the project property, 2.5 acres at the bend in Gateway Road East, in November 2015 from the Jacuzzi family. The estimated cost of the new building all together is $8 million.
The company is awaiting a hearing for the project before the Napa County Planning Commission. Upon approval, the estimated build time is nine months, weather permitting.
Oakland-based Pound Management is coordinating the project. Chief architect is Jeff Leonhardt, a principal of RMW Architecture & Interiors.
AP Thomas Construction of Sacramento is the general contractor.
Jeff Quackenbush (firstname.lastname@example.org, 707-521-4256) covers construction, commercial real estate and wine.
60 Technology Way, Napa 94558