Alma Rosa Files for Chapter 11

Bummer indeed . . . .

Very big bummer. Hopefully it’s a restructure that works and doesn’t become a liquidation.


I don’t any details but you would think he made a big chunk from the sale of Sanford.

Particularly because the sale was so perfectly timed, at the very height of the market possible for a Santa Barbara winery

Hmm. I haven’t missed a call and don’t have any voicemails. I guess they didn’t get the message that I’m a bankruptcy attorney AND wine berserker. I’ll have to do more winery visits soon you know…to uhhhh…market myself…not to drink more wine, or whatever…

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Umm, why do you think he sold Sanford? That was his baby. That winery was very, very expensive to build.

Of course it was, and the sale seems perfectly timed from a business point of view, particularly considering it is not a Napa winery, which has all the Chinese buyers looking to own a piece.

Does anyone know when Terlato actually started working with Sanford? It’s my understanding that they first invested in the winery a few years before they took ownership of it back in 05 or 06 . . . and I’m not sure if their original investment was one based on distribution or the intent to purchase. Anyone?

A few perspectives on the breakup of the Sanford-Terlato partnership:


It`s a sad thing to see this go in this direction. Richard is a good guy, has his heart and mind in a good place and certainly is considered an icon in our local community if not beyond. In fact, he has been recently recognized as such and commemorated for his contributions and pioneership.

As I recall, Richard`s 100% commitment to being organic, bio-dynamic and growing sustainable fruit was the key factor in him losing Sanford.

Bummer. Richard is a good guy. Hope this works out as well as possible for him.

If he had no personal guarantees on the debt of Alma Rosa he could still be very wealthy, realize this business was a losing investment, and let it go under…

He did not file - the business did…

Blake, I don’t think so. Here is a quote from one of the articles linked to above by Robert:

“It was also wildly expensive, with the initial estimate of $4 million or so exploding closer to $10 million when the last tile was laid in 2001. “Unfortunately, the winery cost too much,” admitted Thekla. “That got us into trouble.” Then came the 9/11 attacks, which killed wine sales for about a year, plus some weak harvests and more slow sales.”

The Sanfords overspent on their showpiece winery. Then 9/11, etc. That forced them to seek financial partners. The partnership with Terlato seems ill-fated from the get-go - or, at the very least, from the time Terlato gained control (51% ownership). And yes, they did clash over farming practices: Richard Sanford’s preferred practices added 10% to production costs, anathema to a bottom-line focused outfit like Terlato.

Poppy, after I posted my remarks, I reviewed one of the links above which in part states: "The main conflict seems to center on the winery’s dedication to organic farming. “The problems became more apparent lately,” Sanford said of the clash over organics. “Some people don’t think it’s a very good investment.”

But Bill Terlato, president and CEO of his family’s wine group, said the issue was quality, not money. Richard Sanford had been managing the vineyards in recent years, Terlato said, and winemaker Bruno D’Alfonso had little control over the grapes. Things came to a head about six months ago when the partners tasted the 2003 Pinot Noir, Terlato said. “We were not happy with the quality of that wine. We decided to declassify all of it. You will not see a bottle of 2003 Sanford Pinot.”

Larry please do not overspend on your winery/wine tasting room.

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Thanks for the concerns . . . . no worries here (-:

I do note in one of the articles posted by Mr. Fleming my buddy David Breitstein was quoted - and he was also at Greystone/CIA when Richard was inducted. Too bad I would like to hear if David has any inside poop on this mess.

Agree, it’s a bummer to hear this news. Hope Alma Rosa gets through this - I’ve always liked their wines.