Rotta Winery in Templeton sold to outside investor group

jhickey@thetribunenews.comJune 20, 2013 

Rotta Winery in Templeton

JENNIFER ROBILLARD — jrobillard@thetribunenews.com

One of San Luis Obispo County’s first wineries has been purchased by an outside investor group.

Rotta Winery, founded in Templeton in 1908, was sold for an undisclosed sum and is now a partnership between managing partner Jason Shorrock, an unnamed international partner, and the founding Giubbini family, according to a recent news release.

“The wine business today requires marketing and financial resources that, as a small winery, Rotta was no longer able to afford on its own,” said co-owner Mike Giubbini in the news release.

Shorrock, who previously worked as general manager of Justin Vineyards and Winery, told The Tribune that he plans to re-brand the company by bringing out the traditions and old stories of the historical winery with a cleaner design, expanded production, and a new winemaker.

Now renamed Rotta Winery LLC, the Giubbini family owns a minority of the business, though Shorrock declined to disclose what percent.

Rotta Winery’s 20-acre vineyard is planted with cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and zinfandel grapes, most of which are dry-farmed, Shorrick said.

The company has hired Jeff Branco, former winemaker at Justin Vineyards, to develop Bordeaux-style wines. Branco is the third American with master of science degree in viticulture and enology from the University of Bordeaux in France, and earned the Paso Robles region’s first 95-point score from Wine Spectator for his 2002 JUSTIN Isosceles Reserve, Shorrock said.

“We have the goal to have one of the best Bordeaux varietals in Paso Robles,” Shorrock added.

The winery currently produces about 5,000 cases of wine each year, but Shorrock said it has the capacity to produce 20,000.

The original vineyard and winery were started in the 1800s by Frenchman Adolph Siot, who sold it in 1908 to Joe Rotta, according to an April 2012 Tribune report.

The winery was sold in the late 1970s, but the family got back part of the property more than a decade later.

Joe, in turn, sold it to his brother, Clement.

Giubbini, Clement's grandson, began to revive the property in 1990 by replanting parts of the vineyard, mostly to zinfandel.

In 2003, the San Simeon earthquake destroyed most of the original winery, built in the 1800s. Part of it still stands, said Shorrock, who hopes to rebuild a version of the historic structure.

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