News Briefs for December 22, 2015December 22, 2015
•U.S. wine exports to key markets Canada and Mexico dodged a bullet in recent days with passage of the U.S. government’s omnibus funding bill, which smoothed over a burgeoning trade dispute among the NAFTA countries. Signed by President Obama late last week, the bill repealed U.S. country of origin labeling provisions on meat that violated WTO rules and were about to trigger retaliatory tariffs of more than $1 billion from Canada and Mexico on products including wine. “Passage of the Omnibus will once and for all lift the threat of potentially devastating tariffs on California wine and allow our producers to get back to focusing on growing their sales in these key markets,” said Wine Institute president and CEO Robert P. (Bobby) Koch. The omnibus also increased Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau funding by 5%, partially reversing recent declines that have created delays in label approvals and other key functions of the department.
•Casella Wines has upped its premium presence with the purchase of the Brand’s Laira wine franchise from Australian countrymate McWilliam’s Wines. The deal, whose price was undisclosed, includes the brand itself, as well as Brand’s Laira winery in Coonawarra, South Australia. Known for Cabernet Sauvignon, Brand’s Laira represents another premium addition to the Casella stable, which expanded with the company’s acquisition of Peter Lehmann Wines for around $50 million last year. Managing director John Casella told Fairfax media that the goal is to grow Brand’s Laira from its current 70,000 cases to around 250,000 cases within the next decade. Casella is best known in the U.S. as the producer of Yellow Tail.Subscribe to Shanken News Daily’s Email Newsletter, delivered to your inbox each morning.