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News Briefs for March 20, 2017

March 20, 2017

•Following the dismissal of its lawsuit against fellow wholesaler Breakthru Beverage late last week, New York-based Empire Merchants said it’s evaluating its appellate options and plans to continue to pursue state-level claims in the case. In a statement, Empire attorney Randy Mastro said, “At its core, Empire Merchants’ lawsuit is about a massive bootlegging scheme in which (Breakthru subsidiary) Reliable Churchill was a central participant. Since the lawsuit’s filing, six of Reliable Churchill’s co-conspirators have come forward to corroborate under oath its role in this bootlegging scheme. So we are disappointed that the court decided to dismiss the federal lawsuit based on technical legal grounds, but we are considering our appellate options and continue to have state law claims to litigate.”

•Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA has revamped its Mouton Cadet brand, with changes including a “rounder, smoother” wine style and a new look. Bearing a modernized logo and color-coded capsules across its Red, White, Rosé and Sauvignon Blanc bottlings, the new Mouton Cadet is debuting with the 2015 vintage, whose new-style reds will launch in September, with whites and rosés to follow in Spring of 2018. Baron Philippe de Rothschild says it now has complete control over Mouton Cadet’s supply sources from vineyard to vinification. Its partner winegrowers cultivate 3,750 acres, with almost half of them now in the Côtes de Bordeaux. Imported by Constellation, Mouton Cadet sells about 150,000 cases in the U.S. annually, according to Impact Databank.

•New York-based importer Henriot Inc. has added France’s Château des Bertrands to its portfolio. Starting this month, Henriot will begin handling two of the winery’s rosé cuvées, including Élégance Côtes de Provence ($20 a 750-ml.), a Cinsault- and Grenache-based blend, and Château des Bertrands Côtes de Provence ($24), a blend of Grenache and Syrah. In addition to Château des Bertrands, Henriot’s family and partner brands include Champagne Henriot, Bouchard Père & Fils, William Fèvre, Château de Poncié and Tenuta di Ghizzano.

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