End of an era in Lodi
East-Side Winery, reportedly California’s last winegrape grower cooperative winery, was sold in its entirety at a bank auction Aug. 15. The purchasers, Robert and Donald Reynolds and Rudy Maggio, already owned the winery’s major label, Oak Ridge Wines, in addition to M & R Packing Company, also in Lodi, Calif. The new owners said they would maintain the complex as a winery.
The East-Side co-op was in debt to the tune of $7.2 million, forcing the sale. Oak Ridge purchased all the winery’s machinery and equipment and three parcels of land totaling 50 acres, including all the winery buildings and an antique redwood Fermentation barrel that served as East-Side’s tasting room.
East-Side was founded by a group of primarily German grape growers in 1934, immediately following the Repeal of Prohibition. Construction on the $125,000 winery began in May of that year and was completed by September, in time for the first crush of 10,000 tons.
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