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News Briefs for May 16, 2018

May 16, 2018

•Breakthru Beverage is expanding in Canada, taking a minority stake in broker Peter Mielzynski Agencies (PMA). Other shareholders in Ontario-based PMA include William Grant & Sons, Distell, Gruppo Italiano Vini, and Peter Mielzynski Jr. PMA board chairman Jonathan Yusen—also William Grant & Sons’ president and managing director for the Americas—said the “new relationship with Breakthru will allow PMA to continue to expand its scale and reach.” Once the deal closes, Peter Mielzynski Jr. will assume the role of vice chairman and director of corporate affairs of PMA, and former Breakthru Canada executive John Donohue will become general manager. Breakthru has steadily expanded in Canada since initially forging an exclusive national partnership with Diageo in 2014. The company also acquired Canadian boutique broker and importer B&W Wines in 2016.

•Fred Furth, a founder of Sonoma’s Chalk Hill Winery and a high-powered San Francisco attorney known for his swagger and ever-present cigar, died May 12 after suffering a fall at his home in Palm Beach, Fla. He was 84. Furth and his second wife, Peggy, bought the undeveloped Chalk Hill property in the eastern hills of Sonoma County in 1972 and started producing wine about a decade later. They planted more than 270 acres of vines over the years. The winery built its early reputation on Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc and later received outstanding scores for Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon blends, as well. In 2009, Fred and Peggy divorced. Vintner Bill Foley of Foley Family Wines bought Chalk Hill a year later. Furth remained active in law until recent months and was an avid pilot and devoted philanthropist. Wine Spectator has more on Furth’s life and career.

•Boston-based Latitude Beverage Co. has launched a new brand—Places Wines—beginning with two New England-centric rosés. Named for Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, respectively, ACK and MVY are blends of Provence-sourced Syrah, Cinsault, and Grenache. Both wines are available at retail across Massachusetts, priced at $20 a 750-ml., with $1 from every bottle sold going towards either the Nantucket Boys & Girls Club or the Martha’s Vineyard Boys & Girls Club. Places will release three more rosés—a Montauk, New York MTK Provence Rosé; a Newport, Rhode Island NPT Provence Rosé; and a New Hampshire Live Free Languedoc Rosé—later this summer, all of which will also benefit local organizations.

•French wine brand Le Grand Noir is introducing a new Méthode Traditionelle Brut Rosé label. Rolling out nationwide June 1, Le Grand Noir’s Brut Rosé is made with a blend of Grenache and Carignan grapes and retails at $19 a 750-ml. The new addition joins the brand’s existing eight-label lineup. Le Grand Noir is imported in the U.S. by Minnesota-based Prestige Beverage Group.

•Heineken USA’s Strongbow Hard Ciders will relaunch its Original Dry Cider in the U.S. in June, four years after its departure from the market. The 5%-abv cider is made from a mix of bittersweet and culinary apples, and canned without added artificial flavors or colors. The cider will roll out nationwide in June, beginning in the on-premise, in individual and four-packs of 16.9-ounce cans. Strongbow Original Dry will replace the brand’s 14.9-ounce cans of Gold Apple cider.

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