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News Briefs for September 13, 2018

September 13, 2018

•Sparkling wine producer Piper Sonoma has named Folio Fine Wine Partners as its national sales and marketing partner, effective immediately. Folio will represent the Piper Sonoma Brut ($19) Piper Sonoma Rosé ($19) labels, as well as the Blanc de Blancs. Piper Sonoma is among the largest domestic sparklers in the above-$15 segment in the U.S., rising 0.7% to 110,000 cases last year, according to Impact Databank. The brand was founded in 1980 by the Marquis d’Aulan, whose family has historic links in Champagne. Sourced from vineyards across Sonoma County, Piper Sonoma is produced in Healdsburg, California by winemaker Keith Hock. The deal marks the second Sonoma County property to join Folio this year, with Dutton-Goldfield having come aboard in January. Rémy Cointreau USA previously handled Piper Sonoma in the U.S.

•The Chengdu Wine and Food Fair is one of China’s oldest wine-trade shows—more than 100,000 wine importers and buyers filled the exhibition halls at this year’s edition in March. And some were treated to an unusual sight: a phalanx of security guards escorting Bordeaux wine-trade officials to booths, looking for counterfeit wines. The Chengdu festival has been notorious for blatant trade in fake wine in recent years, but Bordeaux’s CIVB wine council had government permission to crack down on counterfeit Bordeaux this time. The move is part of an encouraging trend in China: Over the past nine months, Bordeaux has scored two major victories in China and, coupled with an anticipated change in e-commerce legislation, there’s a potential turning point in the long, complex war on counterfeiting in this lucrative market. Wine Spectator has the full story.

•Total U.S. wine exports rose by 2.7% to $708 million and 1.7% to 21.3 million 9-liter cases in the six months through June. Shipments to China grew 14% to $38.4 million in the first half of 2018, even as China hiked tariffs on the category. In April, China implemented a 15% tariff on U.S. wines in retaliation for new U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum. While shipments have held up so far, tariffs could rise still higher looking ahead. On August 3, China threatened to impose an additional 25% tariff on U.S. wines, again in retaliation for proposed tariff increases by the U.S. across a number of imported Chinese goods.

•3 Badge Beverage Corp.’s spirits division, 3 Badge Mixology, has introduced a new Spanish vermouth brand. Made in Madrid, the La Pivón brand includes two expressions: Rojo and Blanco. Both offerings are crafted with a base of Airén and Malvar grapes, which are then blended with a proprietary mixture of local herbs and botanicals. After sitting for one day, the blend is filtered and bottled at 16% abv. La Pivón is currently rolling out nationwide at a retail price of $29 a 750-ml. The 3 Badge Mixology portfolio also includes Uncle Val’s Handcrafted Gin, Kirk & Sweeney rum, Pasote Tequila, and Bozal mezcal.

•Illinois importer and marketer Winesellers, Ltd. has added Portuguese offering Rabisco Reserva Tejo to its portfolio. Produced in Portugal’s Tejo region at the Quinta Sao Joao Batista estate, Rabisco Reserva is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Touriga Nacional. The wine is aged for nine months in new French oak barriques. Retailing at $13 a 750-ml., Rabisco Reserva Tejo is currently rolling out nationwide. Winesellers’ Portuguese portfolio also includes wines from Quinta de la Rosa and Faisão.

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