US drinks giant Brown-Forman has closed down Jekel vineyards’ operation in Monterey County.

The established Jekel name – one of the first to place Monterey County on the premium wine map – has fallen victim to corporate streamlining and restructuring. The move has cost the jobs of 10 people, mainly in the administration and management portion of the business.

The 795ha Jekel vineyards will continue to be harvested and the grapes will be processed in Paso Robles and Sonoma County.

Jekel produced a host of varietals, including chardonnay, riesling, pinot noir, syrah and merlot. Its portfolio also includes the quality Sanctuary Estate label which takes up 462ha of the Jekel lands.

Brown-Forman is keen to maintain that the Jekel label will not be lost. Phil Lynch, Brown-Forman’s vice-president of communications told the Monterey Herald that, ‘We really have some excess on our production side; none of the people were let go because of any inability.’

Jekel was not the only winery to feel the pinch, 17 people were laid off at Sonoma-Cutrer and 18 had to leave Fetzer. Jekel’s was the only operation to be closed down.

Written by Oliver Styles