Filed under: Wine
A few years ago in order to tempt the new wine consumers of the Millennial generation, winemaker Jess Jackson and his wife Barbara Banke launched White Rocket Wine Company, a hipper, cheaper companion to their existing wines. Now in a response to the recession, White Rocket has been closed down and the company has been consolidated back into Jackson Family Wines. The company made wine with cute and simple names like Dog House, French Maid, Tin Roof and Ray's Station and was based in Napa. The brands will continue to exist and will continue to be made by winemaker Melissa Bates and operations have been moved to the main Jackson company in Santa Rosa, California.
It's just the latest move by the wine company as a response to poor sales. Kendall-Jackson also has dropped its $100,000 annual sponsorship of the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts and earlier this year Jackson Family wines let go around 170 employees.
When it's bad for the biggies, it's also bad for the small wineries too. Northern California's wineries have had a rough time this year after years of huge growth. Wine tourism in Northern California is down and grape growers are concerned about being able to sell all of their grapes. An article in Wine Spectator reveals that even the larger wineries who might usually be able to capitalize on the lower prices caused by a grape glut are facing supply backups already. Last year the average going rate for a ton of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon grapes was $3,420 but this year ads are already showing prices as low as $2,000. There is some hope that the end result of this may be that value-priced wines in the $10 range might be exceptional in the 2009 vintage.