Exclusive news and research on the wine, spirits and beer business

News Briefs for February 11, 2014

February 11, 2014

•Chilean wine exports rose 17.4% by volume to 879 million liters and 4.9% by value to $1.88 billion in 2013, according to data from the Wines of Chile trade group. The fastest growth came from Chile’s bulk wine segment, which surged 23% to $359.2 million, while bottled wines eked out a 1.8% gain to $1.45 billion for the year. That resulted in a 10.6% drop in the average export price to $2.14 per liter. The U.S. remained Chilean wine’s largest export market by value, up 1.8% to $201.2 million. Other key markets included the U.K., Chile’s biggest wine export market by volume, as well as Japan (+22.4% to 4.2 million cases) and China (+20.7% to 2.8 million cases).

•Sidney Frank Importing Co., Inc., is introducing the first Junmai Ginjo-Shu-grade sake to the House of Gekkeikan stable in the U.S. The new entry, named Suzaku, is available nationwide for $24.99 for 720 ml., with 300-ml. bottles also available. Made from fresh spring water, yeast, koji and the finest rice, it’s recommended to be served slightly chilled or at room temperature. Meaning “guardian of the South,” Suzaku refers to the mythical Japanese name of the Vermillion bird. Gekkeikan, located in the Fushimi region within Japan’s Kyoto Prefecture, produces 15 varieties of sake and plum wine.

•Diageo is adding a new Dark Chocolate offshoot to its Godiva liqueur line. Joining Godiva’s existing Chocolate and White Chocolate liqueurs, Dark Chocolate will launch this month, retailing around $30 a 750-ml. bottle. The dairy-free offering is being marketed as a mix-friendly cocktail ingredient to add to drinks like the Chocolate Martini and, in tandem with portfoliomate Cîroc’s Amaretto flavor and orange juice, the Dark Desire.

•Moët Hennessy USA’s Domaine Chandon sparkling wine brand is set to unveil the latest entry in its American Summer series at this year’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival in Miami. Featuring red, white and blue packaging, the limited edition offering will be revealed during the festival kick-off on February 20, at Chandon’s American Summer lounge. Chandon American Summer 2014 will be available from Memorial Day through Labor Day, priced at $8 a 187-ml. and $22-$24 a 750-ml. The 2014 edition marks the third release in the series.

•New York’s Classic & Vintage Artisanal Spirits has added Venezuela’s Rum Diplomatico to its U.S. import stable. Aged for a minimum of two years and a maximum of 14 years, the brand’s lineup includes Diplomatico Blanco, Añejo, Reserva and Reserva Exclusiva, as well as super-premium Ambassador. The full collection is intended to be served neat or in cocktails. A subsidiary of Domaine Select Wine Estates, Classic & Vintage Artisanal Spirits also handles the Armagnac Castarede, Cognac Grosperrin, Rhum J.M., Suprema Grappa and Tuthilltown Spirits brands, among others.

•Southern Wine & Spirits of the Pacific Northwest (Southern-PNW) has made a series of appointments to its senior management team. Effective immediately, Ryan Lumaco, formerly vice president, general sales manager of SWS in Oregon, has been named vice president, general manager, Washington. Michael Jeffrey, formerly vice president, trade development, Southern-PNW, has been appointed vice president, general manager, Oregon. Matt Haskins, meanwhile, has added trade development to his duties as Southern-PNW senior vice president, wine.

•Charmer Sunbelt Group (CSG) has named Sabrina Clerge as its new senior counsel. She joins CSG from World Fuel, where she was senior counsel for the aviation and corporate departments, and previously held counsel positions with Pfizer, KPMG and American Express. Clerge will report to Arlyn Miller, executive vice president, general counsel for CSG.

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