At its peak, Ravenswood Winery shipped one million cases of wine every year. Now, less than a month after the brand was sold to E. & J. Gallo as part of a $1.7-billion deal, the winery’s founder has confirmed Ravenswood will close its Sonoma tasting room.
Speaking to the Sonoma Index-Tribune, Joel Peterson confirmed the Gehircke Road tasting room will close its doors in mid-May following almost 30 years of operation. “I am really sad to see it close,” he said. “We had lots of good years here, we have had a wonderful staff, really dedicated people who have been so loyal to us.”
Paterson founded the winery — which famously carries the motto “No Wimpy Wines” — in 1976. Synonymous with Zinfandel production, the brand opened its tasting room in 1991.
In 2001, Constellation Brands bought Ravenswood for a reported $148 million, two years after it went public. Last month, Constellation sold the brand along with 30 others to E. & J. Gallo for $1.7 billion.
Gallo only purchased the brand, however, and Constellation retained ownership of the winery’s 13-acre property and tasting room. Constellation initially declined to comment on the tasting room closure but has since confirmed the news with SFGATE.
“This decision was made with a great deal of careful thought and consideration,” Alex Wagner, a Constellation spokesperson, said. “Constellation’s top priorities are the long-term interests of our business, our people, and the communities where employees live and work.”
Maureen Cottingham, executive director for the Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Association, described the news as the “end of an era.”
At the time of writing, Gallo’s plans for the Ravenswood brand are still unknown.
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