McManis Winery adds new bottling room


209 Business Journal file photo
Purchasing and bottling room manager Justin McManis checks a wall box on his rounds in the family winery
on River Road in Ripon.

The once tiny McManis Winery in Ripon has grown to a production of 450,000 cases being produced annually at its River Road facility.

Currently farming nearly 4,000 acres of premium wine grapes, the business got its start in 1998 under the guidance of Ron and Jamie McManis when they designed and built their state-of-the-art winery. The McManis Family Vineyards produces a range of red and white varietals sourced from 10 estate vineyards.

Son Justin McManis is the purchasing manager and manager of the new stainless-steel bottling room and daughter Tanya is involved in the administration of the Ripon and Lodi facilities. Both are Ripon High grads.

The automated bottling room allows the winery to employ fewer workers inside their plant. The automation keeps watch on the weight of the individual bottles to see they are properly filled and the boxes coming off the conveyor belt for shipping. If they don’t pass the photo scrutiny they are ejected from the lines. The bottles are also photographed for flaws and any chance of a foreign object being in a given bottle.

Premium grape growing practices use select rootstocks and clones chosen to match the soils and sub climates of the northern interior of California in combination with labor intensive management techniques such as leaf pulling and cluster thinning practices. The Ripon business has recently won “green” winery certification through the Lodi Rules of Sustainable Winegrowing Programs.

McManis boasts the ability of having “small winery techniques” with small lot fermentation and oak aging to produce finished wines meant to be enjoyed with juicy flavors, freshness and balance.

The Ripon based winery exports to some 20 countries including Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Mexico, Spain, UK, Sweden Norway, Switzerland, Germany, France, Netherlands, Japan, Taiwan, China, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam, Mexico and the Virgin Islands.

The winemaker is Mike Robustelli and the Ripon vineyard management is handled by Dirk Heuvel, Ed Bianchi and Alejandro Ochoa. In charge of the Lodi vineyard management are Ernie Jeff and Shane Dosio of Pacific Agri-Lands.

Massive stainless-steel fermenting tanks are designed to process 50 ton lots of red wine with smaller tanks available for blending, fermenting and oak integration. All the red grape varieties for the vineyard’s Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Petite Syrah, Syrah and Barbera are harvested mid-day to provide a robust start to the fermentation at the warmer valley temperatures.