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News Briefs for June 22, 2011

June 22, 2011

• Drambuie executive chairman Phil Parnell passed away June 16 at the age of 59, after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. First appointed to the boards of Drambuie Limited and the Drambuie Liqueur Company in 2004 and named CEO the following year, Parnell is widely credited with spearheading the brand’s revitalization and return to profitability. Prior to joining Drambuie, he held various senior positions with both Guinness/United Distillers—where he spent nearly 20 years—and sports equipment manufacturer Dunlop Slazenger. Richard Stone, who retired as non-executive chairman last year, is set to return to his former role.

• Ste Michelle Wine Estates and Marchesi Antinori have appointed Steven Spadarotto vice president and general manager of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, effective July 5. He is replacing Jeff McBride, who has assumed other responsibilities with Ste Michelle, a spokesperson said. A 20-year industry veteran, Spadarotto has served as general manager for Napa’s Clos Pegase and Santa Maria’s Cambria Winery, as well as held executive positions with both Jackson Family Farms and Diageo Chateau and Estate Wines. Most recently, he served as vice president of operations and supply for Treasury Wine Estates. Founded in 1970, Stag’s Leap was jointly acquired by Ste Michelle and Italy’s Antinori family in 2007.

• New York-based wine auction house Acker Merrall & Condit has acquired Chicago’s Edward Roberts International auction house for an undisclosed sum. Edward Roberts’s founder and CEO Robert Brooks will stay onboard as head of Acker Merrall’s newly established Midwest division, and the outpost’s first major auction is slated for October 22. The deal marks Acker Merrall’s first market expansion since the group entered Asia in 2008. According to Acker Merrall & Condit CEO John Kapon, Chicago represents “the second largest wine market in the U.S.”

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