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Robert "Randy" Roach Jr., Sues Fred Schrader Over Involvement in Schrader Cellars

by Kerana Todorov
May 04, 2021

Longtime Napa Valley vintner Fred Schrader and a former friend, Robert “Randy” Roach Jr., are fighting in state and federal courts over the terms of their involvement in a Cabernet Sauvignon produced with To-Kalon fruit.

A lot of money may be at stake. Fred Schrader in 2017 sold Schrader Cellars to Constellation Brands for about $60 million, according to news reports. Schrader Cellars has no home winery.

The sale did include Schrader RBS, a Cabernet Sauvignon produced with fruit from the Beckstoffer To Kalon vineyard in Oakville. “RBS” stands for Roach Brown Schrader LLC, an entity formed in December 2002.

Roach, an attorney based in Texas, alleges he was an “equity partner” in RBS, according to a lawsuit Roach filed in state court in Houston in 2018 against Fred Schrader and Constellation Brands. Roach, who was a friend of Schrader for about two decades, stressed he and Schrader had a partnership in the RBS project, according to the Texas lawsuit.

The sale of Schrader Cellars was conducted without his knowledge, Roach said in court filings. Roach said he received cigars from Schrader after the sale of Schrader Cellars to Constellation, but no check, according to the Texas lawsuit. Roach said he was “beyond upset,” according to the lawsuit.

Roach’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and a number of court orders, including one to set aside Constellation’s acquisition of Schrader Cellars.

Schrader, however, said in court filings that Roach was no partner. Schrader said he only made a loan agreement with Roach in order to buy To Kalon grapes from Andy Beckstoffer, according to court records. The first loan installment was in 2002, according to court filings. There was no written agreement, according to the parties.

Roach loaned a total of $135,000, Schrader said in court filings. Schrader said he paid Roach back in full with interests - a total of $150,000, according to the lawsuit. The money was paid in installments between 2005 and 2010, according to the lawsuit. In addition, Roach received between 15 and 17 cases of RBS wine a year for legal work he performed for Schrader, according to court records. These annual deliveries stopped after the 2017 sale of Schrader Cellars to Constellation, Roach said in court filings.

In February, Schrader Cellars filed a federal lawsuit against Roach. The complaint seeks a number of rulings against Roach including one that would state that Roach has no rights to Schrader Cellars’ assets. No agreement was ever signed, according to the complaint.

“Roach has never had any ownership interest in or association with Schrader Cellars, whether individually or through RBS LLC. Nevertheless, Roach maintains both publicly and privately that he owns 50% of some assets associated with Schrader RBS wine, including apparently the trademark and rights associated with that label – which has been consistently sold by Schrader Cellars LLC since 2003,” the complaint filed by Schrader Cellars stated.

The complaint also includes trademark infringements allegations, according to the filing.

The federal lawsuit also accuses Roach of presenting himself as the owner of Schrader RBS for “his own social and financial gain” to restaurant owners, wine collectors  and others in the United States and abroad, according to the complaint.

Schrader Cellars’ wines produced with To Kalon fruit includes RBS Cabernet Sauvignon; Schrader Cabernet Sauvignon; Schrader CCS Cabernet Sauvignon; Schrader Colesworthy Cabernet Sauvignon; Schrader GIII Cabernet Sauvignon; Schrader LPV Cabernet Sauvignon; Schrader Old Sparky Cabernet Sauvignon; and Schrader T6 Cabernet Sauvignon, according to the complaint.

Fred Schrader canceled the Roach Brown Schrader LLC in December 2013, according to the California Secretary of State’s website. Brown refers to winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown.

 


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