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Big Changes at California Wine Giant

Nick Goldschmidt leaves Simi to oversee Allied Domecq's winemaking.

Tim Fish
Posted: May 9, 2003

Allied Domecq continues to shake things up at its California wine division, consolidating all seven of its brands under a single executive winemaker. Taking on that job is Nick Goldschmidt, who is leaving Simi Winery after 14 years as winemaker.

Goldschmidt, 41, will oversee winemaking at Clos du Bois, Mumm Cuvée Napa, William Hill, Atlas Peak, Buena Vista, Callaway Coastal and Haywood Estate. The British wine and spirits giant allowed the wineries to operate with considerable autonomy in the past but there have been a number of winemaker and other high-level staff changes in recent months.

"I want to make it more of a team environment," Goldschmidt said. "And I get to be a multibrand winemaker, which is something I've always wanted to do."

The change also allows Goldschmidt, a New Zealand native, to focus on his own two brands, Goldschmidt and Forefathers, which have garnered generally outstanding reviews from Wine Spectator. Before joining Simi, Goldschmidt worked in the cellar at Carneros Creek Winery and was winemaker at Caliterra and Errazuriz in Chile. He continues to consult with Errazuriz and a number of other wineries.

One of the largest wine-and-spirits companies in the world, Allied Domecq also owns Perrier Jouët and Mumm Champagnes, liquor brands such as Beefeater, Canadian Club, Courvoisier, Kahlua and Maker's Mark, as well as Dunkin' Donuts.

Owned by Constellation Brands, and part of the company's Franciscan Estates division, Simi is currently looking for a replacement for Goldschmidt.

In other winemaker news, Philippe Melka has been hired as a consultant for a new super premium red wine brand under development at Ferrari-Carano Winery. Don and Rhonda Carano have been working for a number of years on their TreMonte estate, located in the hills above Alexander Valley, planting a 200-acre vineyard and digging a complex of caves.

The Ferrari-Carano venture marks the first time the high-profile winemaker has consulted on a project outside Napa Valley. Melka's client list currently includes Bryant Family, Vineyard 29, Caldwell, Lail, Quintessa, Seavey, Marston and Hundred Acre.

Duckhorn Wine Company has hired Bill Nancarrow as winemaker for its Paraduxx brand. Nancarrow, who had been winemaker for the past five years at C.J. Pask winery in Hawkes Bay New Zealand, will work in collaboration with Duckhorn's winemaker Mark Beringer.

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