It's the end of an era for a stalwart Zinfandel producer in central Sonoma as the Ravenswood Winery will be shut down in mid-May. The announcement comes via the longtime owner of the winery and tasting room, the beverage conglomerate Constellation Brands.
As SFGate reports, Constellation retained ownership of the 13-acre vineyard and tasting room after selling the Ravenswood brand — along with 30 more of its "lower-end" wine labels — to E. & J. Gallo earlier this month.
Constellation says the decision to close Ravenswood's almost-30-year-old tasting room near downtown Sonoma "was made with a great deal of careful thought and consideration."
The winery, known for its Zinfandels and its slogan "No Wimpy Wines," was launched in 1976 by "Godfather of Zin" Joel Peterson. The tasting room at 18701 Gehricke Road dates back to 1991, and the brand and winery were sold to Constellation in 2001. "I am really sad to see it close," Peterson tells Sonoma News.
Employees at the tasting room were reportedly informed that their last day will be May 15, and May 17 is the official closing date.
Constellation Brands offloaded the Ravenswood brand and over two dozen others in a strategic move to "better align portfolio with consumer premiumization trends." The company says that consumer trends point to more purchases of higher end wines and craft beers, as well as hard seltzers.
The move comes just two weeks after Constellation announced the closure of two brewpub locations of its craft beer brand Ballast Point, and the cancellation of plans to open a Ballast Point taproom at the new Chase Center.