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From: lewis.perdue@wineindustryinsight.com

Subject: New Smelt Lawsuit, Trustee For Conti Ch11, Gross Mismanagement Alleged In Stevenot Bankruptcy

Date: 2009-03-26 14:22:35

To: Emailing List Subscriber
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WINE INDUSTRY INSIGHT

EMAIL EDITION - VOLUME I, NUMBER 78 - MARCH 26, 2009


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COULD WINE BE PREDICTING A RECOVERY? A Request For Data From Your Editor

I've previously written about the January and February data from Information Resources Inc. showing a dramatic upturn in wine sales. While it is true that super- and ultra-premium wines are under represented in this data, it still covers about 63% of all wine sold.

And while it may not be an absolute indicator, it does give a relative comparison.

In a previous email edition of Wine Industry Insight, I hinted that it would be informative to have approximately ten years worth of wine sales data which could be charted -- month by month -- against economic indicators and stock market indices.

While the four years worth of data I presented showed wine performing better overall than the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the time span is not long enough to draw conclusions about wine sales and whether they're predicting a recovery.

NEEDED: YOUR OLD DATA

It's on a hard-drive or a backup somewhere: your old scanner data reports. I specifically need just one number: the percent dollar change (% $ chg) for every 4-week period dating to 1998.

That would allow a comparison of wine sales before the DotCom meltdown and after, before 9/11 and after and into the current slump.

THE POWER OF ONLINE COLLABORATION

Obviously, an indication that wine is leading the recovery would be a big and important thing for us all to know. On the down side, there's also the possibility that the data won't cooperate. However, this is an important issue which can be solved through online collaboration.

And because this will involve help from many people, credit will be given to all who want it and the results free for all.

Thanks for your cooperation.

Lew Perdue

IN THIS ISSUE:
  • Trustee Appointed For MC2/Conti/Charles B. Mitchell Bankruptcy

  • Activists To File Another Lawsuit Over Delta Smelt

  • U.S. Trustee Charges Stevenot/Golden Eagle With “Gross Mismanagement” In Bankruptcy, Alleges Multiple Misdeeds

  • San Joaquin River Restoration: More Water For Fish, Less in Friant Reservoir, 15,000 Farmers Affected

  • Daily News Roundup for March 26, 2009



Trustee Appointed For MC2/Conti/Charles B. Mitchell Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy Judge Michael S. McManus has ordered the United States Trustee to appoint a Chapter 11 trustee in the MC2/Conti/Charles B. Mitchell Bankruptcy.

Generally, Trustees are appointed in a Chapter 11 case when the judge determines that the debtor’s management is unable to handle the reorganization.

The hearing has been scheduled to continue at 11 a.m. April 27, in Sacramento Bankruptcy Court.

GROWER GETS TO PROTECT COLLATERAL

Judge McManus approved grower William Naylor’s request to protect wine made from $6,059 of the 2008 Barbera he sold to the winery.

Among other items, Judge McManus ordered the winery to segregate, properly store and maintain wines made from the growers’ grapes, stop selling bottled or bulk wine, and allow the growers access to their product.

Naylor joins two other growers whose collateral protection requests were approved.


Activists To File Another Lawsuit Over Delta Smelt

Despite federal water restrictions that already threaten to put 40,000 Californians out of work and significantly raise fruit and vegetable prices for the entire United States, two activist groups said Tuesday that they intend to force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to tighten restrictions governing the longfin and delta smelt.

The Bay Institute and Center for Biological Diversity filed a notice March 24 that they intend to sue the FWS to change the status of the delta smelt from threatened to endangered.

FEDS SHOULD FOLLOW MORE RESTRICTIVE STATE EXAMPLE

The lawsuit will demand that the FWS follow the lead of the California Fish and Game Commission which, earlier this month, voted to protect longfin smelt as a threatened species and changed the state protected status of delta smelt from threatened to endangered.

“Due to inaction by the Bush administration, which blocked processing of the listing petitions, a final determination on the petition to list the Bay-Delta population of longfin smelt is seven months overdue, and a final determination on changing the status of the delta smelt from threatened to endangered is two years overdue.”

“The longfin smelt was once among the most abundant fish in the open waters of the San Francisco estuary, and they were an integral part of this ecosystem’s food-web,” said Dr. Jonathan Rosenfield, conservation biologist at The Bay Institute. “The precipitous decline of longfin smelt, its distant cousin delta smelt, green sturgeon, steelhead, and two populations of Chinook salmon reveals an ecosystem collapse brought about by mismanagement of our freshwater resources and lax enforcement of our environmental laws,” said a joint statement from the two groups.

MORE WATER NEEDED FOR FISH IN ORDER TO TO PRESERVE ECOSYSTEM

According to the joint statement, “The strong legal protections of the Endangered Species Act are needed to force state and federal regulators to take actions to save our native fish,” said Jeff Miller, conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Unsustainable record water diversions from the Delta are driving formerly abundant species at the base of the food chain to extinction and crippling Central Valley salmon runs.”

“With present trends, the delta smelt will go extinct soon if we do not ratchet up protections and protect its habitat,” said Miller. “Federal and state agencies are not only failing to address the problem, but are moving forward with plans for diversions and storage projects that will increase the threats and further degrade Delta habitat.”


U.S. Trustee Charges Stevenot/Golden Eagle With “Gross Mismanagement” In Bankruptcy, Alleges Multiple Misdeeds

The current management of Stevenot/Golden Eagle Estates “has engaged in gross mismanagement” and should be placed under the care of a Chapter 11 Trustee, according to a court filing by U.S. Department of Justice attorneys [VIP Subscriber link].

MUNARI “SIPHONED” $841,522.90 FROM ACCOUNTS IN 2008

As first reported by Wine Industry Insight on Feb. 5, the court filing, prepared for Acting U.S. Trustee (UST) Sara L. Kistler, charged that, “In the year prior to the commencement of this Chapter 11 case, Jack Munari siphoned $841,522.90 from the Debtor’s [Stevenot/Golden Eagle Estates] capital investment account, largely to fund business activities unrelated to the direct operations of the Debtor.”

[That transcript is part of the Trustee's exhibits which subscribers can access in the Data Cellar.]

  • CAPITAL ACCOUNT DROPS BY $8.7 MILLION IN ONE YEAR
  • UST SAYS MUNARI FILED “MATERIALLY INACCURATE INFORMATION”
  • FAILURE TO DISCLOSE ALL PROPERTY & MORTGAGES
  • TRUSTEE SAYS QUESTIONABLE ACCOUNTING PRACTICES DELIBERATE
  • THE $100,000,  QUARTER-TON GOLDEN EAGLES FOR MUNARI’S “CASTLE”
  • HEARING SET FOR APRIL 15 IN MODESTO

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WHY ISN’T EVERY THING HERE FREE?

For the same reason that wine’s not free. Or labels, bottles, rootstock and all the rest.

For the same reason you like to get a paycheck.

For the same reason that a winery tasting room will give you free tastings of their regular wines, but charge you if you want the really good stuff.

Sure, there’s plenty of free content on the Web. Heck, most of Wine Industry Insight is free as well. But the really good stuff costs me 10 or 12 hours every day. It’s original and with darned few exceptions, you won’t find it anywhere else.


San Joaquin River Restoration: More Water For Fish, Less in Friant Reservoir, 15,000 Farmers Affected

The federal government will spend $400 million to restore a 63-mile section of the San Joaquin River to make it more salmon friendly. While the plan calls for greater water releases from the Friant Reservoir, the plan also calls for reconstructing irrigation canals and other measures that are supposed to make up water losses to more than 15,000 farms served by the system.

The San Francisco Chronicle covered this in today’s issue

Wine Industry Insight will present a more in-depth article on the effects on winegrape growers.


DAILY NEWS ROUNDUP - March 26, 2009


DAILY NEWS ROUNDUP - March 25, 2009

DAILY NEWS ROUNDUP - March 24, 2009






================= CONTACT DATA ====================
Lewis Perdue
670 W. Napa St., Suite H, Sonoma, CA 95476
Phone: 707-326-4503, fax: 707-940-4146
Email: lewis.perdue@wineindustryinsight.com