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Winery upgrading to magnum size
Delicato rolls out plans to expand crush capacity 43%
The entrance to the at Delicato Family Vineyards wine tasting room in Manteca. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Delicato Family Vineyards - Manteca’s largest agricultural employer-  is getting ready to expand its capacity by almost 43 percent.

The family-owned concern that markets wine worldwide is planning a three-phase project that will expand its annual crushing capacity from 140,000 tons of grapes to 200,000 tons of grapes over the course of five years. It ultimately will add just over 250 various tanks to the existing tank farms

The Manteca winery established in 1935 has a current storage capacity of 42 million gallons and bottles 3 million cases annually. Some 230 of DFV Wines’ 350 year-round employees work in the Manteca winery along Highway 99 southwest of the French Camp interchange. They also have another 350 seasonal employees.

The expansion is before the San Joaquin County Planning Commission during their 6:30 p.m. meeting on Thursday. It takes place at the Public Health/Planning Auditorium at 1601 Hazelton Ave. in Stockton.

Within 18 months of approval Delicato Vineyards plans to:

•build a new refrigeration station with a 2,152 square foot canopy, a 6,053-saure-foot centrifuge canopy a 357-square-foot filter canopy, fermenting tanks, remodel an existing 108,874-square-foot warehouse for new barrel storage area, and upgrade the waste water system and management operations of processed wastewater for vineyard irrigation.

Within three years of approval Delicato Vineyards plans to:

•add four new refrigeration plants with a 2,142-square-foot canopy, relocate the existing receiving and crushing area, construct a new 24,936-square-foot maintenance shop, install a 50,000 gallon water tank, add a 6,000 square foot cellar processing building, add tank farms, and add fermenting tanks.

With five years of approval Delicato Vineyards plans to:

•build a 16,428-saure-foot employee lounge, convert an existing 43,888-square-foot warehouse bottling area into an employee office area and receiving/ ingredient warehouse area, plus add more tank farms and fermenting tanks.

Delicato in March leased a 533,000-square-foot warehouse in Manteca’s Spreckels Park located between Ford Motor Company’s Small Parts Distribution Center and Millard Refrigeration Services. It is the second largest warehouse facility in Manteca with only the 550,000-square-foot Ford distribution center next door being larger.

The Spreckels Park site is allowing Delicato to consolidate its entire cased goods inventory plus have room for growth. Delicato currently has warehouse space at their winery at French Camp Road and Highway 99 as well as additional leased space in Lathrop.

Winery roots go back to 1924

Delicato was founded by Sicilian immigrant Gaspare Indelicato who planted the first vines in 1924 on the site of today’s winery..  The first vintage was in 1935 and generated 3,500 barrels. That initial vineyard - which still produces -planted the seed for one of California’s largest vineyard empires.

Gaspare’s three sons - Vincent, Frank and Anthony - joined the family winery as business grew. The third generation of Indelciatos - Chris, Jay, Cheryl, Frank Jr., Claude, Mike and Marie - has now taken over the day-to-day operations.

Their holdings include the fabled San Bernabe Vineyards. It encompasses 11,000 acres that stretch for nine miles in Monterey. It is the world’s most diverse and largest single-owned vineyard.

There are 110 distinct vineyard blocks farmed individually featuring 20 different grape varietals that flourish in a series of micro climates that start with near sea-level, often fog-enshrouded vineyards and work their way up hills to elevations gaining just under 2,000 feet.

Among the Monterey vineyards comes Pinor Noir, Riesling and Chardonnay.

The other major family vineyard is Clay Station Vineyards, some 1,250 acres on the valley’s edge in the Sierra foothills east of Lodi. The rich, red clay with stone “cobbles” is considered ideal for drainage critical to sweetening the fruit. There are six varietals in the classic Mediterranean climate featuring sunny dry summers and cooling nighttime breezes from the Delta.

From the Lodi region comes Zinfandel, Cabernet, and Chardonnay.

DFV Wines also focuses on securing Napa’s varietals as well as accessing grapes from their  “ultra-premium regions” - Russian River Valley and Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County.

The Indelicatos refer  to the Monterey-Napa Valley/Sonoma-Lodi combination as “the golden triangle.”

The Delicato Monterey Winery was established in 1988 and has a crushing capacity of 30,000 tons. The warehouse capacity is 11,000 barrels while the barrel room capacity is 1.5 million gallons.

DFW Wines has one of the top “winery to winery” services in the United States. They serve the top 30 largest premium wine companies. Their services include exclusive brand development, new product development, buyers own label custom blends, and overseas packaging services.

That portion of the business - credited with establishing Delicato Vineyards as a “winemaker’s winemaker” was the handiwork of Gaspare’s three sons.

The third generation gets credit for developing the branded wine business, plus establishing a global market for DFV Wines.

In 2010, DFV purchased the Black Stallion Winery in the Napa Valley.

The board of directors consists of six Indelicatos - Chris, Jay, Frank Sr., Vince, Dorothy, and Cheryl - along with Michael Mondavi and Chris Day.