Callaway Winery Returns to Its Roots

Temecula, California, UNITED STATES

TEMECULA, Calif., Jan. 5, 2006 (PRIMEZONE) -- The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has approved the sale of Callaway Vineyard & Winery to Callaway Temecula Limited Partnership, a Del Mar investment group headed by Patricia Lin and her family.

Temecula's oldest and best-known winery was purchased from Allied Domecq Wines USA. No price was disclosed.

"We look forward to getting back to basics at Callaway and producing quality wines made from locally grown grapes," said Patricia Lin, president of the family-owned partnership. "By concentrating on smaller quantities fermented in oak not stainless steel, we believe the attention to detail will result in exceptional wines."

Approval by federal regulators was the final hurdle to the transaction. Completion of the sale will allow Callaway to return to its roots as a smaller boutique winery that initially will produce 25,000 cases a year of premium wines.

Prior to the sale, the winery produced 200,000 cases annually, mostly Chardonnay.

The sale of the 35-acre vineyard and winery includes a spacious tasting room, intimate gift shop, indoor banquet facility, large banquet space, production and warehouse facility, and use of the Callaway name on wine sold directly to the consumer through the tasting room, online or via Wine Club.

The Callaway Coastal brand name was sold to Shaw-Ross International, a Miami-based distributor.

Because of the lower production requirements Callaway eliminated some production positions but will add office and tasting room jobs.

"Overall, the restructuring will leave us with about 45 employees, about the same number as it was prior to the sale," said Brent Smith, general manager. "We certainly are excited about getting back to the roots and traditions that made Callaway a name synonymous with fine Temecula wines."

As part of a return to its roots, Callaway plans to make its wines exclusively from Temecula grapes, a practice the winery's previous owner dropped in 2000 when it changed its label to Callaway Coastal and purchased grapes from outside the region.

One of the first priorities of the new winery will be find a local source of grapes and upgrade the vineyards with new grape varieties and new trellising. Plans are being made to tear out and replant 15 acres of vineyards in the front of the Callaway facility for its line of estate wines.

In the meantime, Callaway will continue to produce quality premium wines that can be sampled in its tasting room and purchased in the gift shop or online.


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