Shake-up at Eberle (Paso)

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Post #1  Postby kylemittskus » January 14th 2014, 11:50am

http://pasoroblesdailynews.com/gary-ebe ... ery/12326/

Interesting and kind of sad, at least based on the limited info the article has.

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Post #2  Postby Ken Zinns » January 14th 2014, 11:56am

Yes, just spotted another brief article on this:
http://www.ksby.com/news/shakeup-in-management-at-eberle-winery/

I suppose we'll be hearing more details about this. Gary has been one of the key people in Paso Robles wine for many years.
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Post #3  Postby jbray23 » January 14th 2014, 12:07pm

Wow, I can see if it was a big wig corporate guy doing this but your sister? That's harsh.
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Post #4  Postby ATaylor » January 14th 2014, 3:52pm

jbray23 wrote:Wow, I can see if it was a big wig corporate guy doing this but your sister? That's harsh.


in-law...who was given power of attorney in place of Gary's brother who is somehow incapacitated..........blood is thicker than water.
Last edited by ATaylor on January 14th 2014, 5:36pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Gary Eberle Ousted From His Own Winery

Post #5  Postby Bob Foster » January 14th 2014, 4:48pm

Looks like greed triumphs again. Sigh

http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2014/01/14 ... laced.html
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Gary Eberle Ousted From His Own Winery

Post #6  Postby Todd F r e n c h » January 14th 2014, 5:03pm

Bob Foster wrote:Looks like greed triumphs again. Sigh

http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2014/01/14 ... laced.html

Wow. His sister-in-law ousted him. That's ridiculous.
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Post #7  Postby CWun » January 14th 2014, 5:04pm

I have no info on the winery or their internal politics, however if the head of a company was found to be limiting or harming the growth and potential of the company, then it is fair for the partners or board to replace the head with a better leader. Some may call it greed. *shrug*

in this case, it would have been better to some how cajole Gary to get on board, but lots I don't know about the situation.
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Gary Eberle Ousted From His Own Winery

Post #8  Postby Bob Foster » January 14th 2014, 5:12pm

Todd F r e n c h wrote:
Bob Foster wrote:Looks like greed triumphs again. Sigh

http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2014/01/14 ... laced.html

Wow. His sister-in-law ousted him. That's ridiculous.


Could be worse. Remember that years ago Wilfred Wong was ousted from the family wine store by his mother and brothers.
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Post #9  Postby Joel W » January 14th 2014, 5:22pm

After reading the book on the Mondavi's nothing surprises me....

very VERY tough doing business with family.
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Post #10  Postby ATaylor » January 14th 2014, 5:44pm

CWun wrote:I have no info on the winery or their internal politics, however if the head of a company was found to be limiting or harming the growth and potential of the company, then it is fair for the partners or board to replace the head with a better leader. Some may call it greed. *shrug*

in this case, it would have been better to some how cajole Gary to get on board, but lots I don't know about the situation.


All that you can pick up is the line that they were profitable, were hitting all their sales numbers and returning money to the investors. I don't care what business you are running, but when you pull a stunt like this and leave a respected/named partner holding 35% and very pissed off, you are heading for very choppy waters.
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Post #11  Postby D.Callahan » January 14th 2014, 6:11pm

It sounds like the takeover was by a group interested more in growth, not necessarily quality. Normally growth requires additional investment for added facilities and more grape sources. That money can come from current profit, no longer being distributed to the stakeholders, or outside investment, requiring interest expenses or dilution of interest. It sounds like a risky proposition that should only be undertaken by an experienced, competent manager.....oh wait, they just fired him. Impossible to tell how well prepared a takeover it was nor what kind of leadership will be provided and ill feelings between stakeholders is not a recipe for success.
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Post #12  Postby Leon Bodevin » January 14th 2014, 9:27pm

That's too bad. One of the friendliest tasting rooms in Paso.
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Post #13  Postby TomHill » January 15th 2014, 7:29am

It's a stupid/short-sighted/foolish/bull-headed move by Gary's sister-in-law.
I had a nice visit w/ Gary last Aug when I was there. Just chatting for an hour or so.
The wnry was doing just fine, selling everything they could make. My guess is that Gary will be pushed
out the door and removed from day-to-day operations. Whoever would step into Gary's position (probably Jeanne)
would be stepping into a swamp. GaryEberle is EberleWnry. Without Gary, the wnry is just a winemaking facility.
Gary's brother is in an Alzeheimer's care facility. Jeanne convinced him to give her power of attourney for his affairs.
This scenario has been played out before in this great Nation. It's something Gary should be able to fight in court and
the court will decide whose power-of-attourney is in his brother's best interest.
Not to worry about Gary. He will land on his feet. He's done it before & will do it again. He's too young to turn out to pasture.
I predict he'll eventually be sitting in the head seat at EberleWnry sometime in the future. He's one of JoePaterno's products.
That counts for quite a lot. Gary would be on the phone w/ JoePa right now...were that a posibility.
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Post #14  Postby Nick Ryan » January 15th 2014, 11:57am

Wow. Using a power-of-attorney over a loved one's assets as means to use them to go to war with other relatives in a family business? Revolting.
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Post #15  Postby Bob Foster » January 15th 2014, 12:04pm

More info on the profit hungry folks (who want 150,000 to 200,000 cases a year) who now are in charge:


http://www.ksby.com/news/gary-eberle-sp ... -shake-up/
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Post #16  Postby Todd F r e n c h » January 15th 2014, 12:34pm

Bob Foster wrote:More info on the profit hungry folks (who want 150,000 to 200,000 cases a year) who now are in charge:


http://www.ksby.com/news/gary-eberle-sp ... -shake-up/

What a terrible condundrum. He has to continue on as the 'face' of the winery that he founded, but was ousted from? What possible incentive does he have to continue making wine for the label now??
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Post #17  Postby Robert.Fleming » January 15th 2014, 1:27pm

Todd F r e n c h wrote: What possible incentive does he have to continue making wine for the label now??

35.5% ownership perhaps?
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Post #18  Postby R. Gaston » January 15th 2014, 1:31pm

What a very difficult position Gary has been put into.. I can only wish him the very best. I look forward to hearing what goes down in the near future.
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Post #19  Postby larry schaffer » January 15th 2014, 2:12pm

So interesting and sad.

Do we know if the 'majority owners' made this announcement publicly or did Gary do so?

Also, yes, I'm sure he 'wants' the winery to be profitable, but without being able to make 'business decisions', which, in our industry, goes hand in hand with winemaking and marketing, not sure how this is gonna work out . . .

Bummer . . .
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Post #20  Postby PeterH » January 15th 2014, 2:20pm

Robert.Fleming wrote:
Todd F r e n c h wrote: What possible incentive does he have to continue making wine for the label now??

35.5% ownership perhaps?


Which means he will either have to work his butt off to protect his investment, while having no control over the strategy, or else walk away and risk someone else screwing it up totally.

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Post #21  Postby Todd F r e n c h » January 15th 2014, 2:21pm

PeterH wrote:
Robert.Fleming wrote:
Todd F r e n c h wrote: What possible incentive does he have to continue making wine for the label now??

35.5% ownership perhaps?


Which means he will either have to work his butt off to protect his investment, while having no control over the strategy, or else walk away and risk someone else screwing it up totally.

P Hickner

Exactly.
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Post #22  Postby Bob Foster » January 15th 2014, 7:00pm

I wonder if he will end up like Mitch Cosentino-having no association with a winery that bears his name (or Mondavi or Martini or Dr. Frank or.....
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Post #23  Postby Gary Schulte » January 15th 2014, 7:12pm

Sad story. Gary's in a tough position. Hopefully he reaches out to get consultant input on best steps forward for him.
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Post #24  Postby Randy Bowman » January 15th 2014, 8:12pm

Trying to visualize the requirements for the increase in production makes me wonder if the power group has the knowledge and experience? Where do you get the grapes? Increase tonnage from 2 or 3 tons an acre to 4, 5, even 6 tons per acre and add megapurple for body and flavor? Over plant current vineyards and buy as many you can? Truck in grapes from Lodi and Lake County and call it a "California" Cabernet? But on the other hand, it must not be that difficult judging by the increase in production of a number of Napa producers over the past 10 years.

Gary has to be reeling from this.
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Post #25  Postby Brian Z » January 15th 2014, 8:16pm

too bad - good guy
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Post #26  Postby Andrew Kaufman » January 15th 2014, 8:24pm

Howie Steinbeck is or was a founding partner/owner. Howie told me this during a tasting room visit a couple of years ago. I wonder what his involvement was?
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Post #27  Postby Guillaume Deschamps » January 16th 2014, 11:45am

PeterH wrote:Which means he will either have to work his butt off to protect his investment, while having no control over the strategy, or else walk away and risk someone else screwing it up totally.


Or sell his shares.
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Post #28  Postby PeterH » January 16th 2014, 11:50am

Guillaume Deschamps wrote:
PeterH wrote:Which means he will either have to work his butt off to protect his investment, while having no control over the strategy, or else walk away and risk someone else screwing it up totally.


Or sell his shares.


To who?
His partners don't need them. They need Gary.
Who else wants to be a minority owner of a risky enterprise, when the driving force is leaving the game?
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Post #29  Postby PeterH » January 16th 2014, 11:53am

Randy Bowman wrote:Trying to visualize the requirements for the increase in production makes me wonder if the power group has the knowledge and experience? Where do you get the grapes? Increase tonnage from 2 or 3 tons an acre to 4, 5, even 6 tons per acre and add megapurple for body and flavor? Over plant current vineyards and buy as many you can? Truck in grapes from Lodi and Lake County and call it a "California" Cabernet? But on the other hand, it must not be that difficult judging by the increase in production of a number of Napa producers over the past 10 years.

Gary has to be reeling from this.


Truck in grapes from Lodi and Lake County and call it a "California" Cabernet?

That's my guess. Get it stacked on the floor next to Apothic.

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Well...

Post #30  Postby TomHill » January 16th 2014, 12:57pm

PeterH wrote:
Randy Bowman wrote:Trying to visualize the requirements for the increase in production makes me wonder if the power group has the knowledge and experience? Where do you get the grapes? Increase tonnage from 2 or 3 tons an acre to 4, 5, even 6 tons per acre and add megapurple for body and flavor? Over plant current vineyards and buy as many you can? Truck in grapes from Lodi and Lake County and call it a "California" Cabernet? But on the other hand, it must not be that difficult judging by the increase in production of a number of Napa producers over the past 10 years.
Gary has to be reeling from this.

Truck in grapes from Lodi and Lake County and call it a "California" Cabernet?
That's my guess. Get it stacked on the floor next to Apothic.
P Hickner


Sourcing grapes is not the problem (mostly). The problem is that the wnry is pretty near to capacity right now.
Going up to 30,000 cs was going to be a squeeze. 100,000 cs?? No way.
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Post #31  Postby Edward H. Earles » January 17th 2014, 5:35am

An elephant in the room, that has gone unmentioned, is drought. How anyone in California expects to increase production five-fold during a time of exceptional, extended drought, with multiple interests clamoring for a limited water supply, is hard to fathom.

Could they buy other vineyards, or outside grapes? Possibly, but drought will drive up demand for those, too, and thus either acquisition will be expensive, increasing risk and squeezing margins.

Pride goeth before a fall.
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Post #32  Postby Walter Nissen » January 17th 2014, 11:38am

Edward H. Earles wrote:An elephant in the room, that has gone unmentioned, is drought. How anyone in California expects to increase production five-fold during a time of exceptional, extended drought, with multiple interests clamoring for a limited water supply, is hard to fathom.

Could they buy other vineyards, or outside grapes? Possibly, but drought will drive up demand for those, too, and thus either acquisition will be expensive, increasing risk and squeezing margins.

Pride goeth before a fall.

The fact is that most of the water in California goes to develop crops of low value. There are unbelievable quantities of
raisins and grape juice that sell for a few hundred bucks a ton. Tomatoes at less than $100 per ton. Given that water flows
uphill toward money, Napa Cabernet at $5,000 a ton is not going to be plowed under so the water can be used for tomatoes...
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Post #33  Postby ATaylor » January 17th 2014, 12:10pm

Walter Nissen wrote:
Edward H. Earles wrote:An elephant in the room, that has gone unmentioned, is drought. How anyone in California expects to increase production five-fold during a time of exceptional, extended drought, with multiple interests clamoring for a limited water supply, is hard to fathom.

Could they buy other vineyards, or outside grapes? Possibly, but drought will drive up demand for those, too, and thus either acquisition will be expensive, increasing risk and squeezing margins.

Pride goeth before a fall.

The fact is that most of the water in California goes to develop crops of low value. There are unbelievable quantities of
raisins and grape juice that sell for a few hundred bucks a ton. Tomatoes at less than $100 per ton. Given that water flows
uphill toward money, Napa Cabernet at $5,000 a ton is not going to be plowed under so the water can be used for tomatoes...


The vines will not be plowed under and the vines will still produce fruit without drip irrigation, just much lower yields. However you can be sure that if it came to a real push they would cut the wineries off from water long before the tomato or table grape growers. Food supply would come first....always.
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Post #34  Postby Brian Gilp » January 17th 2014, 12:32pm

ATaylor wrote:. However you can be sure that if it came to a real push they would cut the wineries off from water long before the tomato or table grape growers. Food supply would come first....always.

Not sure that I agree with that statement. Politicians are very interested in tax revenue and I am confident that in almost all cases, wine grapes generate more tax revenue per acre-foot per acre of irrigation water than do tomatoes or table grapes and probably anything else being grown with irrigation. Cutting off the wine grape growers will have the most direct impact on the politicians off all farming so assuming that the food supply would come first is not a given.
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Post #35  Postby Gary Schulte » January 17th 2014, 1:05pm

If the investors want to sky-rocket the output they will probably be able to find resources in California to do that. In fact if I remember Scheid is not far from Eberle and they have a large capacity custom-work winery. Hopefully when Eberle grows they will preserve a quality estate lineup.

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