With wine-production capacity ever harder to come by in the North Coast, a Napa-based mobile bottler and filterer has struck a deal for a sizable south Napa facility giving it nearly three times the output, more than four times the space and adding storage and crush to the list of services.
Three years ago, Top It Off Bottling (707-252-3330, topitoffbottling.com) moved Sonoma Valley to Napa, converting a 25,000-square-foot distribution center at 201 Devlin Rd. into a blending and bottling facility, using three bottling rigs and one crossflow-filter trailer as the backbone of the operation. That was when the company had commitments for about 300,000 cases’ worth of business from 130 clients and plans to reach a half-million cases in five years.
One year later, the company met that goal and within two years outgrew the facility, said founder Mike Glavin. Now, Top It Off works with 700,000 cases annually for more than 200 clients and operates four bottling rigs, including one that started rolling in January, plus one mobile filtration unit and a stationary one in the facility.
“We didn’t count on some our larger accounts that are upvalley expanding a lot,” Glavin said. “Once they bottled a job here they realized moving things in and out their facility was difficult, so they moved some their big production down here.”
The company focuses on clients that produce 50,000–100,000 cases a year, but it does work with smaller brands. One potential area of growth is working with producers that have been pushed out of custom or branded wineries as owners’ production grew or when the facilities were acquired, Glavin said. In particular, E. & J. Gallo’s acquisition of two large North Coast custom wineries last year — Asti in northern Sonoma County and The Ranch in St. Helena — has prompted clients using those facilities to call around looking for a new home, he said.
To deal with current topped-out capacity and future growth, Top It Off this summer inked a 25-year sublease for 112,400 square feet of warehouse space at 2731 and 2747 Napa Valley Corporate Dr. in the former Dey Labs–Mylan campus, now called the county of Napa’s South Campus. The new building has nine truck docks, instead of three at Top It Off’s current facility. The company wants to expand its permitted production to 2 million cases a year.
“Our problem here is getting trucks in and out with the volume we’re doing,” Glavin said.
The 62,400-square-foot Building 1A at the South Campus will be set up for blending and bottling wine plus new services for bulk storage of wine in tanks and possibly filled barrels and finished cases, Glavin said. Connected via a covered walkway, 50,000-square-foot Building 3 would be set up to crush and press grapes, set to start for harvest 2017.
The goal is to start moving in Jan. 1 and be starting production by March at the latest, Glavin said. The industrial park has wineries and grape crush as permitted uses.
The company has 22 employees and likely will need up to eight more for double shifts.
Started in 2005, Top It Off currently has a diversified spread of clients, so none use more than 10 percent of capacity, Glavin said. His background in wine-label printing from 1969–2004 taught him to be wary of too much business with one big client. The lesson was reinforced again when an idea for expanding Top It Off into bottling spirits turned into 40 percent of business with one client. Then that client discontinued the brand.