News Briefs for February 22, 2013February 22, 2013
•Winery Exchange is expanding its branded wine portfolio with the launch of Italy’s Ogio label. Ogio includes a Pinot Grigio delle Venezie IGT ($12.99 a bottle), a Tuscan Red ($12.99)—made up of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet and 5% Merlot—and a Prosecco DOC ($16.99). This year, Winery Exchange will focus efforts behind Ogio in Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Seattle, with a full nationwide rollout planned for 2014. Already available in 12 countries, Ogio has sold more than 5 million cases since it first launched in the U.K. in 2006, according to Winery Exchange. Known for its private label wine production, which numbers more than 3 million cases annually, the company has moved to add more branded products to its portfolio of late, including California labels Echelon (acquired from Diageo in 2011) and Our Daily Red and Orleans Hill (both acquired from Nevada County Wine Guild earlier this year).
•Christie’s France has named industry veteran Bill Blatch as international wine consultant. Based in Bordeaux, Blatch will be responsible for finding unique and interesting “crus” to be featured in Christie’s sales. Blatch has been involved in the Bordeaux wine trade for more than 40 years, starting as a buyer at Grants of St. James’s, then becoming export director at A. Delor et Compagnie. In 1982, he founded Bordeaux negoçiant Vintex, which he retired from last March. Christie’s international wine department reported $90 million in sales last year, selling a record 92% of its lots by value.
•New York City’s landmark Italian restaurant Rao’s in Spanish Harlem is expanding to Los Angeles this year. Rao’s Restaurant Group announced yesterday that the restaurant will open in Hollywood in late spring or early summer in the space that formerly housed The Hollywood Canteen, and will have indoor and outdoor seating for 95 guests. Rao’s first opened in New York in 1896 and expanded to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in 2006.