Top wine company destroying $33 million worth of white wine

There's nothing like a crisp glass of white wine at the end of a long, hot summer day.

Unless that wine has gone bad because it sat on the shelf for too long.

Treasury Wine Estates, an Australian wine company which is among the top 10 wineries by sales in the U.S., is planning to destroy more than half a million cases of wine on this side of the pond because the bottles expired before being sold.

More than $33 million of wine will be lost, said CEO David Dearie. That total will include 500,000 to 600,000 cases of white wine that didn't move off the shelves as fast as company executives hoped.

"The demand for these products didn't keep up with the supply," said Joel Fisher, "The company just took really bold action, and decided we don't want to have product at our distributors that are aged and out of date."

"Most white wines are meant to be drunk fresh," Fisher added.

The brands to be eliminated are primarily sourced from the U.S., but there are also wines from other countries of origin, according to Fisher.

In Sonoma County, Treasury owns Chateau St. Jean, Cellar No. 8 and Souverain. Stag's Leap Winery, Beringer Vineyards and St. Clement are among the company's Napa brands. Treasury also does marketing for Sbragia Family Vineyards.

When Treasury was created through a series of mergers, the company inherited more than the ideal levels of inventory, Dearie said. More than 80 percent of the wine being destroyed typically sells for less than $10 a bottle, the company said.

"Most of it is commercial inventory and it is made to be consumed young," Dearie said.

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