Hurricane Harvey barreled into Southeast Texas over the weekend and it's got an iron grip on the Houston area for at least the next couple days.
Houston is no stranger to flooding--which is why most Houstonians simply stocked up on supplies and stayed put--but Harvey hit harder than expected, wreaking havoc on millions of homes and businesses. There are still plenty of people without power, but we did our best to check in on the industry folks in the area.
So far, the few industry members we've spoken to have said their facilities haven't flooded (knock on wood.) Here are a few updates from distillers:
-- The Railean Distillery in San Leon, Galveston County said so far their facilities are safe, and they are keeping fingers crossed it stays that way. "We will be lucky to not get flooded, it is flooded all around us, roads are flooded…really a bad situation all around the greater Houston area and a mess hours south of us," owner Kelly Railean tells WSD.
-- Yellow Rose Distilling in Houston is also operational, but with employees having difficulty reaching the distillery, production will be on hold for now. Yellow Rose distiller Houston Farris tells WSD he hopes everything will be back to normal next weekend.
-- Justice Label distillery sustained a little damage to the storefront of its facility in Sinton, Texas, but nothing a little patch work can't fix.
-- And BJ Hooker's Vodka ownership hasn't been able to reach their facilities to assess any damage.
Republic National Distributing Company, which has a big Texas presence is said to have fared all right in the Houston area. The Louisiana-based company is staring down a bad case of deja vu and has extended its 2017 Relief Fund campaign through September 14 to support employees that need assistance.
"Our thoughts are with our RNDC team members in the Houston, Corpus Christi and Texas gulf areas following this weekend's catastrophic weather events. As Houston and the surrounding areas brace for more rainfall, the safety and well-being of our associates and their families is our first priority," per a statement on Facebook. The RNDC Corpus Christi offices are scheduled to reopen tomorrow and resuming regular business hours and deliveries on Wednesday. Houston offices are closed until further notice.
As Harvey settles in over Southeast Texas there's still a possibility for more flooding. In preparation, some suppliers have production spaces elevated so that standing water doesn't become an issue.
We still haven't heard from Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits' Houston division, South Texas Distillery, Grateful Dane Distilling Co. and Devil's River Whiskey, but we'll keep the updates coming as they roll in.
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TREASURY SWAPS ONE LAWSUIT FOR ANOTHER
Treasury Wine Estates has paid $39 million to settle the 2014 shareholder class action lawsuit alleging the company misled shareholders about problems in the US.
You'll recall, the lawsuit resulted from TWE's decision to take a $145 million writedown against its US business and disposal of $33 million worth of bad wine [see WSD 10-28-2013].
Although TWE initially said it would defend the suit, the company settled claiming the money was insured and it would not have an impact on financial results, per Reuters.
And just like a bad game of whack-a-mole, after settling that suit, another one has popped up. Though, this time, TWE is not accused of wrongdoing.
The subject of this lawsuit is the company's decision to transform its Beringer's facility in St. Helena into a luxury wine producing facility. Despite the fact that it will produce less wine in it, the residents are none too thrilled about it.
The plan is to replace eight large wine fermentation tanks, which are not ideal for luxury winemaking, with 130 smaller tanks that have a holding capacity 40,000 gallons less than the large ones, according to Wine Business Monthly.
"We are doing this because in order for our business to be competitive in the wine industry, we need to reinvest in this aging winery and we need to focus our efforts on luxury high-end winemaking," Eric Gilliland, general manager at Beringer, told the St. Helena City Council in June.
The city of St. Helena approved the winery's proposal earlier this year by a 3-1 vote, but a group named Citizens for Responsible Winery Growth in St. Helena, has filed a lawsuit alleging that the city violated state environmental law and its own municipal code.
In the complaint Citizens for Responsible Winery Growth (whose membership was not disclosed) said an environmental review should have been conducted because the project creates "significant cumulative traffic, water and noise impacts."
St. Helena Planning Director Noah Housh said he expects Treasury Estates' application to be approved, as it is similar to the Sutter Home application that was approved in September.
YOU GET AN OREGON WINERY, YOU GET AN OREGON WINERY, EVERYONE GETS AN OREGON WINERY
A number of wineries in the hot Oregon wine region are looking to cash in on years of hard work. The Mail Tribune has listed at least four businesses for sale: Red Lily ($10 million), Agate Ridge Vineyard ($4.9 million), EdenVale Winery/Eden Valley Orchard ($6.6 million) and Troon Vineyard ($7.8 million).
Red Lily is a 25-acre wine development on a larger 268-acre spread founded in 2002. It is looking for a cash infusion to get to the next level. "We're at a point where we can't take it any further," founder Les Martin says. "We're either looking at investment money, or sell and stay on as the manager." Les says they've had some "serious discussion" but nothing is finalized.
Agate Ridge Vineyard in Eagle Point is on the market for $4.9 million. Owner Kim Kinderman founded the business with her father 15 years ago, but her father died in 2014. She tells the local NBC affiliate she is regretfully selling it because "it's gotten to be too hard without him."
Troon, a vineyard and winery in the Applegate Valley, is known for its zinfandels. It was established in 1972, and now has 100 acres, 40 of which are planted.
EdenVale Winery is on some of the oldest agricultural property in the Rogue Valley AVA. Sister site Eden Valley Orchards was founded by pear industry pioneer Joseph Stewart in 1885, but it didn't introduce its first wine in 2003. EdenVale offerings include: tempranillo, cabernet franc, syrah, malbec, grenache, merlot port, white port, pinot noir, chardonnay, still and dessert viognier, and red and white blends.
Moreover, the Mail Tribune notes there are even more unnamed wine companies on the market in Umpqua Valley.
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