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News Briefs for November 14, 2013

November 14, 2013

•California-based Paul Hobbs Imports has added Argentina’s Alto Limay winery to its portfolio. Under the exclusive partnership, the winery will continue to offer its 2012 Alto Limay Select Pinot Noir ($20) in the U.S. market, as well as introduce its small-lot 2013 Alto Limay Joven Pinot Noir ($16) in January. Previously, Paul Hobbs had served as a consulting winemaker for Alto Limay. A division of Paul Hobbs Wines, Paul Hobbs Imports also handles Argentinean and Chilean wines from the Viña Cobos, Pulenta Estate, La Flor, Riglos, Finca 8 and Viña Perez Cruz wineries.

Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC) of Kentucky president and CEO Vertner Smith will retire effective January 1. Smith became president and CEO of the family firm founded by his grandfather, Vertner Smith Company, in 1993. In 1998, Vertner Smith Company merged with Kentucky Wine & Spirits to become Commonwealth Wine & Spirits. Commonwealth partnered with Republic Beverage in 2006, and Smith subsequently became president and CEO of RNDC Kentucky in 2007, leading a team that earned Distributor of the Year honors from E&J Gallo in 2008 and Brown-Forman in 2012. RNDC didn’t immediately announce a replacement.

•Diamond Brands has launched its new Magnifico Giornata sparkling wine range in select U.S. markets. Made with grapes sourced from Italy, France and Spain, the Magnifico Giornato lineup features three flavored infusions, including Ginger Peche, Grapefruit Blanc and Lavender Honey expressions. The brand, which is priced at $25.99 a 750-ml. and $74.99 a boxed trio, is currently available online, in New York City and in key California markets, with expansion into Connecticut slated for December 1.

•Jack Battipaglia, a leading retailer in the New York City area for much of the past several decades, died on November 3. He was 89. Battipaglia spent more than 60 years in the drinks industry, and was best known as the longtime owner of Grand Wine & Liquor in Queens. Battipaglia was also very involved in industry associates such as the Retailer Alliance, which he founded, and the Wine and Spirits Guild of America. Battipaglia is survived by his wife, Kay, as well as three children and seven grandchildren.

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