14 thoughts on “None of Your Damned Business! Get Lost!

  1. Lou,
    Congratulations on another correct and well written comment.
    We are all in very dificult times and need to be very open and straigh forward, particularly with our employees and their families.

  2. lperdue says:

    Thanks Michael. The saying that “honesty is the best policy” is as true now as it always has been. Respect grows from that.

  3. Bill Williamson says:

    Lou,You are completely correct in your comments here, but this democracy is a tough thing. KJ is a private company and regardless of size they have a right to hire and fire employees and a right not to talk about it.

    As a community leader they should be setting an example but maybe they don’t feel it’s in their best interests to accept that role. They probably feel that they are doing the community a favor by employing 500 people in this economy instead of the 800 they usually have.

    Frankly, this is a time for everyone to grow, not shrink. From this economic disaster will come a greater America and those who lead the charge will be the real heroes of this time. It other times like this people have risen above the greed of doing business at a profit and adjusted their business to help the community survive. Instead of firing 300 people or 37% of their work force it might have been nice for everyone at KJ to elect to take a 20% reduction in pay. At the end of the day people without jobs can’t buy wine!

  4. tom merle says:


    Jess Jackson was a practicing attorney when he launched a small winery in Lake County. Jed Steele, his winemaker, made a “mistake” crafting the Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay, and the rest is history. Mr. Jackson helped launched Family Winemakers and has been supportive of many other worthwhile causes. And not only did he take on the Wine Institute when it was a vehicle for the Gallos he’s taken on the corrupt horse racing establishment.

    The wine industry owes so much to this individual, however he chooses to run his operation. He’s kept it a family business when others have sold out.

    Your comment was too self serving. The media doesn’t need to know more than the basics.


    P.S. How does one email the editor. The link didn’t jum out at me.

  5. Lewis Perdue says:


    I do need to put my email in a prominent place. On the other hand, the comments area here serves as an instant \letters to the editor.\

    I don’t quite see how my comment was \self serving.\ I don’t deny that Jess Jackson has been good for the industry in many ways. But like all humans, he’s not perfect, as this shows.

    Basics? Sure, but no one knew ANY of the basics until Kevin McCallum dug them out. This sort of sub rosa attempt at hiding things just brews rumors and bad will.

    Just my humble opinion. I’m sure there are others who also disagree with me.

  6. Lewis, Jess Jackson and his companies have contributed enormously to the California wine industry, in both quality and forward-thinking practices. It’s unfair for you to attack them. They’re private employers, and the press has reported as much of the insider information as anyone needs to know. What more do you want from them — the names of those fired? Come on.

  7. lperdue says:

    Steve, The employees involved are certainly upset at the way they were treated. And trying to hide the layoffs is just a PR attempt to make the winery look better than it really is. Shouldn’t people who might be thinking of doing business or forming a partnership with K-J be aware of the company realities?

    The company knew there were layoffs. The employees knew there were layoffs.

    But people whose lives are affected by K-J’s large operation and managers running other wineries and wine-related businesses who DIDN’T know may have made incorrect decisions based on a false view of the industry’s economic realities.

    I come down on the side of transparency.

    And it’s absurd to suggest that I would somehow want the names of people fired.

  8. Mark Fisher says:

    I don’t know all of the specifics of the exchange between the newspaper reporter and the K-J spokeswoman, but I can tell you from personal experience, when a PR person starts to spin and obfuscate, reporters will more often than not pin their ears back and find out the information they’re seeking anyway, through alternative means. And the company involved usually doesn’t like the end result, because those alternative sources usually have a few other things to say as they provide the information. Media relations 101. As Lew said, transparency and full disclosure are best in the long run, and usually make the story last one news cycle rather than several.

  9. I not sure what exactly the writer was expecting.The answer would be thee same regardless of industry and probably with publicly traded firms also. With a public firm you would have to wait until the next 10Q was filed to see exactly how many were laid off.

  10. tom merle says:

    I just don’t get your borderline outrage, Lew. Jackson Family Wines, the preponderance of which are ultra premium, is taking a major hit and it will only get worse. As Jon Frederickson noted, of course the layoffs would be severe. What more “transparency” is needed; it’s just common sense. Why probe further? What would be gained? It’s an extremely unsettling time for wineries and winery personnel. This is news?

    How about a story on some entity, winery or not, that handled the situation in a more “enlightened” way.

    “Self serving”, because you are not disinterested in the enterprises you cover offering up buckets of information. It is your bread and butter. Some third party that didn’t have skin in the game, like an academic or analyst on how private companies reveal bad news would be much less so.

  11. Paul Prezzo says:

    Yes, Lew , it sames like you are trying to kick up a story. I don’t see what the enterprise did wrong.

  12. mydailywine says:

    I see two issues.
    One is how the fired employees were treated. The other is a PR and brand management issue.
    On both fronts, the order of the day is authenticity and transparency.
    Of course, Jackson can run his business however he sees fit, but no company, especially in the current climate, wants to leave a stink trail in their wake.

  13. lperdue says:

    Paul: I am trying to report the news. They are trying to keep the news from being reported.

    You may have noticed that I didn’t break this story, the Press Democrat did. I just shed some light on how tough it was for Kevin McCallum to do his reporting.

    Like Kevin, my job is to ask questions and get answers. Some of us just try harder to get the answers.

  14. Zinman says:


    As with all privately held companies, the freedom from shareholder demands is a two edged sword; on one hand the winery can take risks that publicly held companies can’t, but they can also take unnecessary risks to satisfy the whims of the owner.

    I don’t know which scenario is in play here, but it is certainly counterintuitive to take a price increase that costs huge amounts of business on the day it goes into effect, and then release 170 employees.

    Good reporting though.

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