85-year-old Wine Institute to move headquarters to Sacramento from San Francisco

The California wine industry’s largest advocacy group will move its West Coast headquarters to Sacramento after 85 years in San Francisco, the Wine Institute confirmed in an email Friday.

The Wine Institute’s Board of Directors decided on the move during its March 12 meeting, president/CEO Robert P. Koch wrote in an email to The Sacramento Bee. The new headquarters will encompass all San Francisco operations as well as an existing Sacramento office that currently employees four people.

Sacramento’s proximity to lawmakers was the main reason behind the move, board of directors members told the San Francisco Chronicle, though the organization has been making policy arguments from San Francisco since 1934.

Other reason to consolidate California offices in Sacramento: the rising cost of doing business in the Bay Area and visitors’ difficulty navigating San Francisco traffic to reach the current location in a Financial District skyscraper.

“The move will provide Wine Institute with a greater presence in the state capital while reducing costs,” Koch wrote.

The Wine Institute advocates for legislation and regulations to benefit more than 1,000 California winegrowers, and will divide its headquarters between Sacramento and Washington D.C., Koch wrote in the email. It also has regional offices in Virginia, Texas, New Hampshire, New York, South Carolina and Washington state.

About half of the Wine Institute’s 40 employees currently work out of the San Francisco office. The new Sacramento headquarters is expected to open within a year.

Related stories from Sacramento Bee

Benjy Egel covers local restaurants and bars for The Sacramento Bee as well as general breaking news and investigative projects. A Sacramento native, he previously covered business for the Amarillo Globe-News in Texas.