Treasury Wine Estates CEO David Dearie was ousted Monday, Sept. 23, 2013Treasury Wine Estates CEO David Dearie was ousted Monday following his decision to destroy about $33 million in unsold wine that was past its prime.

Some have argued it could have made great vinegar.

Treasury, which owns several Sonoma County wine brands and vineyards, cited the action as a “key factor” in its decision to dismiss Dearie.

“Over the last two years David has played an important role in guiding TWE,” Treasury Wine Estates chairman Paul Rayner said in a conference call with investors. “He has also successfully built the profile of TWE’s iconic wine brands internationally.

“However, following the write-down of excess U.S. inventory … the board has undertaken a review and concluded that now is the right time to look for a new CEO,” Rayner continued. “The recent inventory issue in the USA, including the one-off losses incurred … significantly dented our overall performance for fiscal 2013 and was a key factor in this decision.”

In July, Treasury disclosed plans to dump more than a half-million cases of wine, mostly made in the United States. Dearie said the move would protect the company’s reputation by making sure the spoiled wine did not reach consumers.

But when sales failed to reach expectations, the company came under increasing pressure from investors to justify its U.S. operations.

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