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

News Briefs for September 15, 2017

September 15, 2017

•The family behind Napa Valley’s Silver Oak is the newest landowner in Oregon’s booming Pinot Noir scene. Wine Spectator has learned that the Duncan family has purchased Prince Hill Vineyard, located in the Dundee Hills appellation of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, from Oregon pioneer Dick Erath. They plan to use the nearly 40-acre vineyard as a source of Pinot Noir for their Twomey brand. The deal closed yesterday; the sale price was not disclosed. Wine Spectator has the full story.

•Brown-Forman is pumping $45 million into its cooperage operation in Louisville, Kentucky, as it looks to modernize the facility amid strong growth in the American whiskey segment. The upgrades, which will be focused in the cooperage’s heading and staving departments, will result in the elimination of 70 hourly employees, who will be offered transitional assistance. The cooperage will continue to employ 205 individuals. Brown-Forman says it’s the only distilling company to craft its own barrels, and that the modernization drive will increase efficiency, reduce injuries and ensure the long-term viability of the facility.

•International Beverage’s Speyburn single malt Scotch brand has unveiled a new 15-year-old expression. Rolling out in November, Speyburn 15-year-old is a 46%-abv whisky matured in American and Spanish oak casks. The new addition is limited to 3,500 cases and will be released annually, retail priced at $65. Concurrent with the launch, Speyburn has unveiled updated packaging across its portfolio, featuring a revamped label and carton showcasing Speyburn’s Speyside distillery. The Speyburn lineup, handled in the U.S. by 375 Park Avenue Spirits, also includes Bradan Orach, 10-year-old and Arranta Casks.

•Campari America’s Wild Turkey has debuted new TV advertising directed by and starring its creative director, actor Matthew McConaughey. Part of a global marketing push called “It’ll Find You,” Wild Turkey’s fresh ads are launching worldwide this month. Wild Turkey posted strong growth in the first half of 2017, with global sales up 15%. According to Impact Databank, the Bourbon and rye label grew by 4.3% to 636,000 cases in the U.S. last year.

•Argentina’s Tapiz family of wineries has launched Wapisa Sauvignon Blanc, the first offering from the company’s new Patagonian winery. Wapisa’s vineyards are located in Argentina on the banks of the Rio Negro, 25 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. The estate has 120 hectares (297 acres) under vine, with is overseen by former Petrus winemaker Jean Claude Berrouet. Imported by Vino del Sol, Wapisa Sauvignon Blanc is available nationwide at a suggested retail price of $14.99. The winery will release additional varietals including Malbec, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon in 2018.

•Canada’s Crystal Head vodka has introduced Aurora, a new permanent addition to its portfolio. Made with English wheat and Canadian water, Aurora ($60 a 750-ml.) was first distilled five times, then filtered three times with activated charcoal and three times over 10,000 Herkimer diamonds. A final round of micro-filtration occurred prior to bottling. It also features iridescent skull-shaped packaging inspired by the Northern Lights. Actor Dan Aykroyd and artist John Alexander own the Crystal Head brand.

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