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Wine Group plans to build big warehouse
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The Wine Group — the world’s second largest winery based on volume — is planning to build a 510,000-square-foot warehouse for wine storage on the southeast corner of East Highway 120 and Murphy Road in rural Ripon.
The project went before the San Joaquin County Planning Commission last week.
To put it in perspective, the warehouse is slightly larger than the Ford Motor Company Small Parts Distribution Center on Spreckels Avenue in Manteca next door to the massive Delicato Vineyards warehouse. The Manteca-based family-owned Delicato concern happens to be the seventh largest American winery based on volume
The Wine Group project will also include a 6,000-square-foot office, 240-square-foot scale house, and a new truck scale. The winery that now employs 149 people per shift. When the warehouse is completed it will bring another 60 employees to the site.
The Wine Group headquartered in Livermore was established in 1981. The privately held concern has such recognizable brands in its portfolio such as Franzia, Almaden, flipflop, Benziger, and Cupcake.
The firm traces its wine roots back to the 1930s with the establishment on Franzia Brothers Wines in Ripon.
The Wine Group’s expansion provides the opportunity to remind folks that San Joaquin County is the top wine grape producing county in California blowing the doors off the relatively anemic Napa and Sonoma counties.
The California Department of Agriculture reported in 2012 that 109,500 acres — or 22 percent of all land devoted to wine grapes that were bearing fruit — could be found in San Joaquin County. That was followed by Napa County at 12 percent and Sonoma County at 9 percent. Monterey and Fresno — which is the undisputed American king for the growing of table grapes — rounded the top five counties for wine grape production.
Let’s not forget the argument of quality versus quantity. The ideal soils found east and southeast of the Delta from the remnants of an ancient inland sea, the hot days cooled by Delta breezes at night and access to water have allowed San Joaquin County growers to average 9.5 tons of grapes per acre as opposed to 3.6 tons in Napa and Sonoma counties. It is true the Department of Agriculture dutifully notes high-quality wineries are closer to the coast.
But here’s the rub: This overwhelming majority of this nation’s 100 million wine drinkers demand quality but also at a price point they can afford which is where San Joaquin County comes in.

ACE tickets on
sale for rides
to 49ers games
 It costs $50 to park at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara to attend a San Francisco 49ers game.
Football fans that have tickets can catch an Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) train on game day at either the Lathrop/Manteca, Tracy, or Stockton stations for a round-trip fare of $35. Fares are $30 from Livermore Vasco Road and Pleasanton and $25 from Fremont. The ACE fares are higher than daily single ticket purchases.
Not only are ACE riders sparred the freeway traffic and parking lot connection but they are dropped off almost on the doorstep of Levi’s Stadium. As an added bonus parking is free at ACE stations.
The ACE train will run on the following dates to Levi’s Stadium:
Aug. 14 vs Houston Texans (Preseason)
Oct. 2 vs Dallas Cowboys 
Oct. 23 vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Nov. 6 vs New Orleans Saints
Nov. 20 vs New England Patriots
Dec. 11 vs New York Jets
Jan. 1 vs Seattle Seahawks
Specific departure times and additional information regarding ACE service for San Francisco 49ers home games can be found at