Trefethen sues Hill Wine for nonpayment

2013-09-06T17:13:00Z 2014-03-12T17:15:22Z Trefethen sues Hill Wine for nonpaymentKERANA TODOROV Napa Valley Register
September 06, 2013 5:13 pm  • 

A winemaker on Oak Knoll Avenue is suing a winery over the nonpayment of $76,750 worth of Napa Valley grapes, according to a complaint filed in Napa County Superior Court.

Trefethen Family Vineyards LTD accused Hill Wine Co. LLC of allegedly not paying its bill in full for 75 tons of chardonnay, according to the complaint filed late August.

As of April, Hill had paid $25,000 of the $101,750 bill for the grapes, according to the complaint. Under the agreement, Hill was obligated to pay $1,250 per ton of grapes.

Trefethen, who is suing Hill for breach of contract, wants Hill to pay $76,750 with a 10 percent annual interest and attorney fees, according to the complaint. Trefethen Family Vineyards also wants the court to prevent Hill from moving the wine produced from the grapes until it is paid in full, according to the court filing.

“TFV has performed all obligations on its part, but Hill has breached the agreement by failing to pay for the grapes as required by the agreement,” the complaint read.

The plaintiff alleged Hill failed to make payments after citing financial difficulties, according to the court document.

Hill had “expressed that it has financial difficulties which are precluding it from meeting its obligations to TFV (and presumably others). TFV has made multiple efforts to resolve the problem but Hill has been unresponsive (other than offering to make a payment and then not doing so).”

This week, Jeff Hill of Hills Wine Co. said he had not heard about the complaint. “We paid them,” Hill said before referring questions to his attorney, Bruce Miroglio, in St. Helena. Miroglio did not return calls on Thursday and Friday.

Trefethen Family Vineyards’ attorney Michael Carlson of Geary, Shea, O’Donnell, Grattan and Mitchell PC of Santa Rosa could not be reached for comment.

“It’s a business dispute,” said Jon Ruel, Trefethen’s director of viticulture and winemaking, before declining further comment.

A case management conference is scheduled for Feb. 4.

This article has been corrected. Hill Wine Co. is not in Yountville.

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