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News Briefs for January 6, 2014

January 6, 2015

•Napa-based marketer and importer Old Bridge Cellars has added Oregon winery Chapter 24 Vineyards to its portfolio. A joint venture between Mark Tarlov (founder of Evening Land Vineyards) and Burgundy’s Louis-Michel Liger-Belair, Chapter 24 specializes in super-premium Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley, including two wines under its Fire + Flood label ($60 a 750-ml.) and its flagship The Last Chapter ($90). Old Bridge Cellars will begin handling sales and marketing for both brands this month, with plans to expand the lineup nationwide. Chapter 24 marks Old Bridge Cellars’ third Oregon winery, joining existing partnerships with Tarlov’s Maison L’Envoye, which produces Pinot Noir in both Oregon and Burgundy, and Joe Dobbes Wines.

•Charmer Sunbelt Group has bought out its partners in its Delaware (United Distributors) and Colorado (Beverage Distributors) operations. Charmer originally partnered with the Obernauer family to create Beverage Distributors in 2000. As part of the ownership transition in Colorado, Marne Obernauer will join Charmer Sunbelt’s board of directors. In Delaware, Charmer formed a joint venture with Standard Distributing Co. in 2002 to open First State Distributing Group, which later merged with Century Wine & Spirits and Delaware Beverage to form United Distributors. According to Shanken’s Impact Newsletter, Charmer’s Colorado and Delaware operations had estimated 2014 revenues of $445 million and $180 million respectively.

•Arthur “Jay” Fritz, Jr., founder of Fritz Underground Winery, passed away on December 30, 2014 at the age of 74 after a long illness. After retiring as chairman of transportation service firm Fritz Companies in 1998, Jay focused full-time on Fritz Cellars, the Sonoma winery he founded in 1979. He built the business into a 25,000-case operation before turning over the reins to his son Clayton, who continues to make wine under the Fritz Underground Winery label, in 2001.

•Bag-in-box sangria brand Beso Del Sol—a joint venture between Arctic Beverage LLC and L&B LLC—has extended its lineup with a new white sangria. Made with 100% Airén grapes, Beso Del Sol White Sangria is blended with natural peach and mango extracts, as well as additional sugar. The Spanish import is packaged in a 3-liter bag-in-box format, which, according to Beso De Sol, allows the sangria to stay fresh for up to six weeks after opening. Priced at $19.99 a 3-liter, Beso Del Sol White Sangria is currently available in Florida and California, with wider distribution to follow, and joins the brand’s original red sangria offering.

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