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Premier Pacific Vineyards Workers In Limbo Following CalPERS Termination

The CalPERS (California Public Employees Retirement System) decision to fire Premier Pacific Vineyards (PPV) as the manager of its poorly performing vineyard real estate portfolio has left PPV’s 130+ employees — from tractor drivers to executives — energetically networking, knocking on doors and handing out resumes — all of them fearing their jobs will be gone by Jan. 1, 2012.

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EMPLOYEE ANXIETY HIGH, BUT NO PANIC YET

PPV Founder and Managing Principal Richard Wollack held a company-wide meeting on Sept. 30 to inform employees of the change and to say that no replacement manager had yet been named or whether the new management would retain existing employees.

Wollack told Wine Industry Insight that, ” I cannot comment on anything related to the end of our relationship with CalPERS nor anything being planned by either us or CalPERS.”

“People are out looking for work,” said one current executive. “They’re stunned, but out there networking, and passing out freshly updated resumes.”

“It hasn’t reached the panic level yet,” said one mid-level employee who requested anonymity. “But the uncertainty, especially this close to the holidays, has lent a high level of anxiety and amped up everyone’s efforts to find a job.”

Another employee closely involved with this year’s crush added that,” It was a stupid, clueless decision for this to hit right now in the middle of a difficult harvest. It’s disheartening at best and distracting at worst for everybody braving the rain and mud to salvage things.” After a pause, the employee added, “But that’s what you get with a bunch of Sacramento Wall Street fat cat millionaires who have no idea what it means to really work — actually work for a living.”

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DECISION IS “HANGOVER” FROM PREVIOUS BAD DECISIONS BY CALPERS

FEW PALATABLE OPTIONS FOR PPV OTHER THAN BUYING OUT CALPERS

(Also see: Wine-Related Articles About Entertainment Properties Trust for more about EPR mentioned in passing by a source in this article.)

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