Rather than pull up stakes, the company began a three-year, $10 million transition into still wine production that ended in 1999 with a brand-new winery called Artesa.
When Van Staaversen joined the company in 1996, Codorniu's owners presented him with a wish list of equipment and assigned him the task of redesigning the Codorniu Napa facility for small-lot, still wine production.
Don had from January to July to convert the facility for still wine production," recalls winery spokesman Dan Gustafson.
Though 99% of Artesa's production is devoted to still wine, the winery still makes about 1,000 cases of sparkling wine each year.
Still winemakers dabble in sparkling wines all the time and people don't jump to the conclusion that their still wine businesses are failing," she says.
We're pretty excited about our still wine program," Donaldson says.
Sure, sparkling wine has a few different techniques that are applied to get the bubbles in the bottle, but you fundamentally start with a still wine anyway.
I've been creating both sparkling and still wines throughout my career, most notably a 20,000 case still wine program with Chandon Australia.
While we are indeed growing our still wine production, we are also growing our sparkling program--in both volume as well as new product launches, like the new Chandon Riche.
Sparkling wine does start out as still wine after all," she says.
In the last few years, many of California's sparkling wine producers added still wines to their production, and some re-invented themselves altogether.