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News Briefs for February 2, 2016

February 2, 2016

•William Grant & Sons has made several key executive appointments to its U.S. team, and announced the departure of senior vice president, sales, Ted Roman, who is leaving to pursue other interests. Grant has named Joanne Jones as general manager East Region; Richard Frederick, general manager West Region; and Marc Hirten, general manager Commercial Strategy. All three will report to Jonathan Yusen, president and managing director of WGS’ U.S. and Canadian business. Jones will manage the group’s relationships with Breakthru Beverage and Martignetti Cos., while Frederick will liaison with RNDC and Young’s Market Co. Hirten will spearhead the national accounts, analytics and new-to-market teams. Meanwhile, Harvey Purchese, Grant USA’s SVP, marketing, will add marketing leadership in Canada to his purview. All changes were effective February 1.

•Australia’s Casella Family Brands has acquired Howcroft Estate Vineyards. Howcroft, put up for sale in late 2015 by Sandhurt Trustees on behalf of a group of investors, includes two properties near South Australia’s Limestone Coast comprising a total of 540 hectares (1,334 acres). Casella, which produces Yellow Tail and also owns Peter Lehmann Wines and Brands Laira, is said to have paid just over A$9 million ($6.3m) for Howcroft, according to Australia’s Financial Review.

•Napa winemaker Rudy von Strasser is ready for his second act. Less than a year after selling his 35-acre estate on Diamond Mountain, von Strasser has purchased Lava Vine winery in Calistoga from founders Joe and Jill Cabral. The sale, for an undisclosed amount, includes the brand and winery on Silverado Trail. Wine Spectator has the full story. HardyH

•A. Hardy USA has linked with Italy’s Francoli Distillery to launch Fiorente elderflower liqueur in the U.S. Produced in Piemonte, Fiorente features a relatively low sugar content and is intended to be mixed with sweet wines or in cocktails, the company says. The 20%-abv entry, which is being targeted both on- and off-premise, is currently available nationwide, priced at $24.99 a 750-ml.

•Will Conniff, executive vice president, general manager of Illinois, Kentucky and Minnesota for Southern Wine & Spirits, will retire March 1 after an illustrious career with the nation’s largest spirits and wine wholesaler. Conniff, who joined Southern’s Florida division as a sales assistant in 1978, has been with company for 38 years, ascending through a variety of leadership roles. A replacement has yet to be named.

•Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s Château La Nerthe has appointed Ralph Garcin as managing director, replacing Christian Voeux, who retired last month. Garcin was most recently winemaker at Paul Jaboulet Ainé. La Nerthe is part of the Pasternak Wine Imports portfolio in the U.S.


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