Bergin Screen-Printing & Etching is putting the finishing touches on a big expansion in Napa Valley on its 30th year in business.
Bergin started as a boutique etcher of wine bottles, but for over a decade has been expanding mostly into screen-printing of labels. It moved into all of a newly finished 82,000-square-foot facility at 451 Technology Way in south Napa on Jan. 2, giving it room to grow for another decade and a half, according to founder, President and CEO Mike Bergin.
But the expansion has been in the works since 2014. At the time, Bergin was eight years into a 10-year lease at 2511 Napa Valley Corporate Drive and had outgrown its space. Bergin initially had moved into 24,000 of the 52,000-square-foot building then expanded to 31,000 then 41,000 square feet. A winery occupied the rest.
“It wouldn’t have been big enough for us anyway,” Bergin said.
Over a dozen years, company revenue had tripled to eight figures annually.
The company had an option to extend the lease for three years, and that came in handy for the length of time required for the expansion.
“It took two years just to try to identify real estate in Napa County, which can be very tight and very difficult,” Bergin said. Vacancy rates for industrial buildings in southern Napa Valley is less than 2 percent for large spaces, according to local real estate experts.
But Napa Valley is where Bergin Glass Impressions had to be, said its founder.
“Even though we have clients scattered all over California, Napa Valley really is the central hub for so many winery suppliers, be it corks, capsules, you name it,” Bergin said. Several large glass suppliers are located roughly 10 miles east through Jameson Canyon on Highway 12 in Fairfield.
Many of the company’s 51 full-time employees live around Napa. Bergin himself has the longest commute, coming from Petaluma. The company started with two employees.
The last four years Bergin in which has been preparing for expansion have been challenging production-wise.
The new facility accommodates a big production upgrade for Bergin. It now has two high-speed print lines and one for small-scale production.
Screen-printing is one of the newer ways to put a label on a wine bottle. Paper labels have been around for centuries, and two main forms are applied to bottles with glue or rolled on sticker-style (pressure-sensitive labels).
Typical winery production among Bergin’s 550 current customers is skewed toward smaller-production runs. Common annual production of roughly 2,000 six-bottle cases (12,000 bottles) in several product variations, known in the retail world as stock-keeping units (SKUs).
“We do a lot of 150- to 1,000-case runs,” Bergin said. The company usually says it accommodates jobs of 100–25,000 cases.
Five screen-printing machines feed into the small-scale lehr, or furnace, used for hardening the ceramic paint on the glass at 1,180 degrees Fahrenheit. That line regularly handles 10,000–12,000 bottles per shift.
Bergin’s Print Department runs 20 hours a day. That’s two 10-hour shifts Monday–Thursday, setting aside Fridays for overtime production, when needed.
“And right now, we’re working a lot of Fridays, even in the new facility” Bergin said.
The new facility has two high-speed print lines instead of one. The new line has the highest capacity, up to 70,000 bottles a day. The older high-speed line can turn out as many as 55,000 bottles daily.