Free Flow Wines's move back to Sonoma adds canning, bulk-wine capacity

Free Flow Wines, which first made a name for itself a decade ago for kegging fine wine for by-the-glass programs, recently completed its relocation and expansion back to Sonoma, adding bigger capabilities for canning wine and storing wine in bulk.

The new 58,000-square-foot facility opened at 21945 Carneros Lake Lane in Carneros Business Park along the Eighth Street East wine-production corridor south of the city, the company announced Feb. 20. It houses a state-of-the-art kegging line, increased canning services and temperature-controlled bulk wine storage.

Free Flow's increased production capacity will accommodate filling up to 1,100,000 kegs and 5,000,000 cases of cans per year, and store up to 375,000 gallons of bulk wine. Phase two of the expansion, set for later this year, is set to include a new high-speed canning line and increased office space under the same roof.

"As we enter our 10th year in business, Free Flow is thrilled about expanding our operations to meet the growing demand for sustainable alternative packaging," Jordan Kivelstadt, president and founder. "The new facility has highly automated kegging and canning lines that will allow Free Flow to grow both categories for the next 10 years."

Free Flow started in 2009 in Sonoma then expanded to Napa and added an East Coast production facility in Bayonne, New Jersey. Today, it leases, fills and handles logistics for kegs as well as canning wine. Over 250 wineries use the kegging services, according to the company.

The automated wine kegging line was custom-designed by Comac. It can fill up to 150 kegs per hour and can be expanded to reach 300 kegs.

Expanded bulk-wine storage is intended to allow customers to fill containers on demand and help increase efficiency and lower costs in moving the wine.

Free Flow started putting wine in cans at the Napa facility. Now, the company said it has three CODI counter-pressure fillers that can fill multiple formats of custom packaging.

This summer, a fully automated, high-speed canning line is set to be installed. The Krones Craftmate filler is designed to offer more than 15 packaging configurations initially and has been enhanced with with wine-focused quality control and speeds for larger canning projects.

Free Flow is said to be partnering with CanSource, a major provider of can sleeves in the U.S. and Canada, to provide turnkey services at the new Sonoma facility.

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