Parducci plans to continue making the Zellerbach wines and launch a new John Parducci Signature Series label. Grapes for the new brand will come from a number of Mendocino County growers. Parducci, who is known primarily for his red wines, plans to stick with reds again, producing Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and possibly Syrah. "I just want to make a small amount of good wines that everybody can enjoy, nothing gold-plated," said Parducci.
Zellerbach's winemaker, Jesse Tidwell, 56, will share winemaking duties with Parducci and will also act as general manager.
Parducci had retired from winemaking after being ousted from Parducci Wine Cellars in late 1994 after a long, bitter feud with investors. His father, Adolph, founded Parducci Wine Cellars in 1933, and John assumed winemaking duties in 1940. Parducci and his brother took over the winery operations in 1964 and through the 1960s and 70s drew attention to Mendocino wines with their flavorful Zinfandels, Petite Sirahs and Cabernets. In 1972, Parducci sold a majority stake in the winery to Teachers Management & Investment Corp.; tension over the winery's management ultimately resulted in his departure and the sale of the property. Parducci Wine Cellars is now owned by venture capitalist Carl Thoma.
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