Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 
 
11.11.2008  
 

Copia to Sell Building by New Year

Nonprofit to downsize Napa operation and open San Francisco site

 
by Paul Franson
 
 
Copia Napa Move Sale
 
Copia's stark exterior did not present a welcoming face to its intended audience, and visitors failed to materialize in the anticipated numbers.
 
Napa, Calif. -- The latest disappointing news to residents and fans of Copia in Napa Valley may turn out to have a silver lining for wine producers. Financially challenged Copia plans to expand its education programs and open satellite campuses with wine bars and stores. The move may provide additional promotion and education about wine around the country, starting in San Francisco.

The bad news for Napa Valley is that the large and underutilized wine, food and art center in downtown Napa is almost surely going to be downsized. Copia CEO Garry McGuire says the nonprofit organization will sell its building and campus by the end of the year, and then either lease back part (the first floor) or move to smaller spaces.

The organization has a debt of $78 million, and prospective buyers are already dealing with a 50 percent write-down in value according to a knowledgeable source close to the organization.

The new CEO offered a rare, "No comment," when asked if he had a buyer. Among the possible buyers is the city of Napa, which could use the site for a civic center, but financing it would be challenging.

One result of the development is that Copia is not scheduling any outside events after Dec. 31. The popular off-season Mustard Festival tourist promotion has had to relocate its big public showpiece, the Mustard Marketplace slated for March 14 and 15, away from Copia.

It will move 10 miles away to the Robert Mondavi Winery, which is sponsoring the Mustard Marketplace and also serving as host winery for the entire 2009 festival. The Mustard Festival will shortly announce details, but organizers admit the change was made at least partly because of uncertainty about the future of the Copia campus.

McGuire says that Copia's new efforts, such as kitchens and production of video and multimedia for the web, will be at the franchised for-profit center to be opened in San Francisco.

The headquarters of the nonprofit Copia Foundation -- and, so far at least, Julia's Kitchen restaurant and the expanded Cornucopia gift store -- will stay in Napa, if not necessarily in the existing building. McGuire says Copia Napa will also have a large wine bar, but arrangements for such a site seem to be on hold until plans are settled.

McGuire says the Ferry Building or the Sony Metreon Building are likely sites for the San Francisco branch of Copia. It will have a large wine bar and teaching kitchen. Copia in Napa only has a demonstration kitchen, which is not suitable for popular hands-on cooking classes. That is also the only room wired for video production.

McGuire adds, "San Francisco could attract 4 million visitors a year. Here, we can only expect 150,000. The model of events and classes isn't enough to support this." McGuire has whittled costs down to cover operations -- Copia was losing up to $5 million per year before he became CEO -- but the center does not throw off enough revenue to finance interest on the debt, much less repay it.

McGuire was brought in to solve Copia's problems. So far, he has started making the website a destination instead of a calendar, commissioned a huge amount of web content, and is about to launch sales of wine and other items on the Internet. He closed Copia four days a week and laid off staff to save cash while he seeks a permanent solution. A major need is to shed the large debt, and McGuire has proposed various possible ways to raise money, including a retail center on the property, a branded hotel and another development.

The concept for Copia was conceived by Robert and Margrit Mondavi, who provided generous support for the project. It was launched just after the terrorist attacks of September 2001, and has been plagued by external factors including the dot-com bust, economic upheaval, and weak tourism numbers. It has, however, contributed to a construction boom in downtown Napa, including support for a massive if delayed project to tame the unruly Napa River.

Nearby complementary businesses, such as the fledgling Oxbow Public Market, a new Westin Hotel and a proposed Ritz Carlton will suffer if Copia closes or relocates from the site. The popular summer Farmers Market probably won't return to Copia either, but the nearby Wine Train station has offered its ample facilities as an alternative.
SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
CURRENT NEWS INDEX »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
July 2015 $603 million
6%
$8,136 million
6%
July 2014 $568 million $7,701 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
July 2015 $66 million
9%
$1,906 million
14%
July 2014 $61 million $1,674 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
July 2015 323
4%
262
18%
July 2014 312 222
     
 
MORE » Released on 08.13.2015
Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2015
 
Download full report »
 
 

FEATURES
 

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • September 6
     
    Harvest Wine Celebration
     
  • September 11-13
     
    Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic
     
  • September 17
     
    Winejobs.com Summit
     
  • September 18
     
    Owning and Operating an Urban Winery or Brewery
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: Crowd Funds 10,000 Cultivars »
 
Thanks for interviewing the academic breeders. They would love to be able to raise $167K...
Reader: New York Viticulture
 
Article: Nielsen Unpacks Package Design »
 
Okay, I'll state the obvious (to anyone with CPG experience) - the Wine Biz is...
Reader: Joel Miller
 
Article: Nielsen Unpacks Package Design »
 
Very interesting reading. Certainly agree with the more indirect approach of evaluating the extent to...
Reader: Roger Brooks
 
Article: Experimental Solution to Pierce's Disease »
 
Congratulations to the team! It is amazing what can be done with biological controls. Keep...
Reader: Bruce Coulthard
 
Article: The Spiciest Wines You Have Ever Tasted »
 
There are some wines from New Mexico are infused with pepper flavors. Also, The Wine...
Reader: Guest
 
 


2015 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
   LEARN MORE »
 
   SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Wine Club Director
 Willamette Valley, OR
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Experienced Wine & Spi...
 Northern California, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Wine Educator
 Oakville, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Housekeeper
 Los Olivos, CA
General Administration and
 Bottling Line Technici...
 Napa, CA
Cellar, Lab and Production
 National Sales Manager
 Salem, OR
Sales and Marketing
 Sr. Compliance Special...
 Santa Rosa, CA
General Administration and
 Office Assistant
 Oakville, CA
General Administration and
 Business Relationship ...
 Manteca, CA
General Administration and
 Wine Sales Representat...
 Los Angeles, CA
Sales and Marketing
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2015 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.