It was an island in the vast winemaking sea, and now it is gone.
In 2008, Kent Rosenblum sold Rosenblum Cellars to international drinks giant Diageo. In mid-May, Diageo shut down the Rosenblum winemaking facility on northern California’s Alameda island. Production is being moved to another Diageo property, Beaulieu Vineyards in the Napa Valley.
While a tasting room will remain open on Alameda, the quarterly open houses that Rosenblum hosted at its winemaking facility are now a thing of the past.
Those open houses were legendary, particularly among Zinfandel lovers. Rosenblum was a champion of single-vineyard Zinfandel bottlings, and fans relished the opportunity to taste a variety of Zins side-by-side.
But even before Diageo shut down the winemaking facility, it had begun cutting back on the number of single-vineyard Zins produced. Among those eliminated: Monte Rosso and St. Peter’s Church.
Rosenblum, who founded his winery in 1978 and moved operations to Alameda nine years later, was not happy about Diageo’s decision.
In an interview with Wine Spectator, he said, “I think this is what happens when you let bean-counters run a company.”