The Napa Valley-based Robert Mondavi wine group will cut 4 percent of its workforce, or 36 jobs, in a move that company president and CEO Michael Mondavi said was necessary to reduce costs and keep the publicly traded wine company competitive.
According to Mondavi spokeswoman Nancy Light, all the jobs will be cut from Mondavi's various Napa operations; 19 employees are being laid off outright, while nine are being offered early retirement and eight can take jobs elsewhere in the company. The cuts come from both the winemaking and administrative staffs.
In addition, Mondavi will sell surplus wines from the '95 and '96 vintages that had previously been destined for the Vichon Mediterranean label. Juice for the Vichon wines comes from the south of France, but it is shipped to Napa Valley to be turned into finished wine. The '95 and '96 vintages were the inaugural wines for Vichon Mediterranean; Light said Mondavi had overestimated the initial demand for those wines. They will now be sold on the bulk wine market.
The job cuts also come as Mondavi is embarking on a major renovation of its original Napa Valley winery, which first opened in 1966. Demolition has already begun to make way for a new red wine fermentation and barrel-aging facility, according to Light.
Mondavi will take a restructuring charge of $6 million, or 23 cents a share, to help pay for the changes.
Mondavi makes and markets wine under the following labels: Robert Mondavi Winery, La Famiglia di Robert Mondavi, Robert Mondavi Coastal, Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi, Bryon Vineyard and Winery and Vichon Mediterranean. It is also involved in three joint-venture wine projects: Opus One from Napa Valley, Sena from Chile and the Luce, Lucente and Danzante brands from Italy.
For more on Mondavi's business ventures:
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