Just over a year ago, it was exciting to see new neighbors move into Carneros Commons at the South end of Napa Valley Commons. These new neighbors are with Crimson Wine Group (“Crimson”), a collection of vineyards and wine estates with an impressive portfolio of wines. Now that the Crimson crew has settled in, take an extra moment to get to know them and learn more about all that they have going on behind the scenes at the office here.
Crimson may not be a name that you hear often around the Valley or in the wine world, but a big part of that is likely because the wineries and estates owned by Crimson are not typically marketed collectively. Each has their own unique identity and while there are some reciprocal benefits and synergies of having “sister wineries”, each property is operated independently and has its own story to tell.
How did this collection of top-notch wineries come to be? In 1991, Leucadia National Corporation (Leucadia) became a debt holder in Pine Ridge Winery, which was owned by Gary and Nancy Andrus. In 1993, Leucadia along with Gary Andrus developed Archery Summit Winery in the Dundee Hills of Oregon. In 2002, Leucadia purchased Pine Ridge Vineyards in Napa Valley and Archery Summit from Gary and Nancy Andrus and formed “Crimson Wine Group” as its luxury wine portfolio. In 2005 and 2006, Crimson purchased land in the Horse Heaven Hills of Washington and established a vineyard named Double Canyon. In 2008, Crimson added Edna Valley’s Chamisal Vineyards and in 2011, also added Seghesio Family Vineyards in Sonoma County. In 2012, Crimson launched the wines of Double Canyon Vineyard. In 2013, Crimson Wine Group was spun off from Leucadia as a separate public company (OTC: CWGL) and continues to operate as such.
Covering three great winemaking states—California, Washington and Oregon—each of the five estate-based brands represents an important wine growing region and is focused on what each estate can best do from that region. Each of these wineries complements each other with their diverse wines and stories. All of the wineries are vastly different in their sizes, wines produced and have very focused identities.
One of the major advantages to creating a portfolio of wineries is that while maintaining separate identities and management of each winery, there are certain opportunities for knowledge sharing and synergies between the properties. Certain functions such as accounting, information technology and human resources can be centralized to efficiently use resources while allowing the wineries to focus on what is most important: the wine! Additionally, with a strong Board of Directors, Crimson definitely takes advantage of the support and advice of the stakeholders in the company providing them a leg up on other wineries in the marketplace that may not know where to go for that same level of sound advice and support.
Out in the field, the Crimson sales force is made up of about 15 people, who primarily handle regional sales around the country and exports to 40 countries. Behind the scenes, at their corporate office here in Napa Valley Commons, Crimson has about 30 employees, covering everything from marketing, ecommerce, direct-to-consumer sales, executive offices, accounting, finance, human resources and IT. Unfortunately for the neighbors of Crimson, there are not any tastings offered at their office, yet, but it is definitely worth a visit to each of their individual properties to truly have the full experience of the wine and to learn about each brand.
For more information about Crimson Wine Group, stop by or visit www.crimsonwinegroup.com.