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News Briefs for January 28, 2014

January 28, 2014

•Spain’s González Byass is set to bring its U.S. distribution in-house via its recently-acquired Chicago subsidiary Vin Divino Ltd. Starting February 1, Vin Divino will handle sales and distribution responsibilities for the full González Byass wine and Sherry portfolio, including the Bodegas Tio Pepe, Bodegas Beronia, Finca Constancia, Viñas del Vero and Cavas Villarnau brands. Additionally, Vin Divino will also manage the U.S. launch of González Byass’s London No. 1 gin in limited markets this year. To support the transition, González Byass has appointed two new area market managers for North America, naming Andrew Sinclair senior business development manager for the East Coast and Christopher Canale-Parola head of Western U.S. and Canadian sales. González Byass, which sells upwards of 30,000 cases in the U.S. market, purchased Vin Divino from Angelini Group in July 2013 for an undisclosed sum.

•Starting this month, Argentina’s Bodegas y Viñedos Luminis is introducing a new line of appellation-specific wines in the U.S. market. They include Allamand Valle de Uco Malbec (retailing at $12.99), Allamand Valle de Uco Cabernet Sauvignon ($12.99), Allamand Altamira Malbec ($24.99), Luminis Luján de Cuyo Malbec ($14.99), Luminis Luján de Cuyo Cabernet Sauvignon ($14.99), Luminis Perdriel Malbec ($24.99) and Allamand ‘H’ Valle de Uco ($34.99). The Mendoza-based producer is currently in 14 U.S. markets, with more set to come online this year.

•Italy’s Angelini Group has created a new division, Bertani Domains, to house its Tuscany-based wine production unit and its agricultural unit in the Marche. Bertani Domains encompasses 500 hectares (1,236 acres) of land, including 350 under vine in the zones for Amarone, Brunello di Montalcino and Nobile di Montepulciano. Its holdings also include 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres) in the Marche. The new unit produced and distributed 3 million bottles of wine last year—under the Bertani, Val di Suga, Tre Rose, San Leonino, Collepaglia and Puiatti brands—with turnover of €20 million ($27m). Angelini Group acquired the Verona-based Bertani family’s former company, Cantine Bertani, in 2011, augmenting its existing portfolio of Tuscan estates. A year later, the Bertani family began a new wine project, Gaetano Bertani e Figli.

•MillerCoors’ upcoming release Miller Fortune is taking aim at spirits drinkers. Fortune, set to launch over the next two months, is targeted at 21-27-year-olds and intended to play in the spirits occasion, Bloomberg reports. The new brew, at 6.9% abv, will be priced at a 15% premium to Miller Lite, or around $6.99 a six-pack depending on the market. It will feature a black bottle with an angular profile reminiscent of a spirits bottle, which MillerCoors hopes will allow it to stand out on the bar and shelf. Backed by TV ads, Fortune follows similar higher-alcohol, higher-priced products such as Bud Light Platinum and Bud Black Crown from MillerCoors’ top competitor AB InBev.

•The Chinese government and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Wine Regulatory Forum have unveiled a new process designed to streamline U.S. wine exports to China. Starting March 1, China will accept a consolidated, one-page wine export certificate for wine products coming from the U.S. The multi-purpose document—which functions as a certificate of origin, certificate of health/sanitation and a certificate of authenticity/free sale—is expected to reduce unnecessary export costs and eliminate trade barriers. According to the World Bank, the consolidation of wine export certificates throughout the APEC region is expected to shorten document preparation from nine days to three days, as well as reduce costs from $156 to around $52.

•Heineken USA is releasing its core Heineken label in an 8.5-ounce “slim” can format. Rolling out at retail March 1, the new packaging will be available in 12-packs and is targeted toward spring and summer outdoor and on-the-go occasions, as well as the convenience store channel. According to Heineken, the brand’s slim can is among the first premium offerings within the 8.0-8.9-ounce can segment, which Nielsen reports was up 522% by value and 356% by case volume to around 8.2 million cases in 2012.

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