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

News Briefs for July 26, 2011

July 26, 2011

•Johannesburg-based investment firm JCI Ltd. has sold a controlling stake in South African wine producer Boschendal to Cinmark Twenty Seven Ltd. for approximately $104 million. Under the deal, Cinmark will reportedly receive a 62.67% majority holding in Boschendal’s 2,240-hectare (5,533-acre) Western Coast estate, which features vineyards, restaurants and a retirement community. Best known for its Le Pavillon brand, Boschendal was previously owned by mining tycoon and politician Cecil John Rhodes, eventually taken over by diamond producer De Beers and subsequently purchased by former JCI owner Anglo American Plc.

•A bottle of 1811 Chateau d’Yquem has sold for $117,000, setting a new record as the most expensive white wine to ever be purchased. Christian Vanneque—who runs Sip Wine Bar in Bali—bought the wine from the Antique Wine Co. Vanneque told the Wall Street Journal that he wants to use the wine as a promotional tool at his new Sip Sunset Grill, set to open August 1st, where he will put it on display. He confirmed to the WSJ that he has no plans to ever sell it. He does plan to drink the wine in 2017 at Paris restaurant La Tour d’Argent in celebration of the 50th anniversary of his career. The previous record for most expensive white wine was held by one from the same collection—a 1787 Chateau d’Yquem that sold for $100,000.

•California’s Wilson Daniels Ltd. is launching a proprietary line of Central Coast varietal wines in the U.S. this August. Priced between $10-$15 a 750-ml., the eponymous line features a Wilson Daniels Chardonnay and Pinot Noir—both sourced from the cooler-climate Santa Maria Valley—as well as a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc from the warmer region of Paso Robles. The new additions join Wilson Daniels’s existing California roster, which includes wines from the Clos Pegase, Gainey, Roth Estate, J. Davies, Lancaster Estate, RouteStock Cellars and Schramsberg vineyards.

•Bevvy.com, a website that offers its members ongoing discounts to nightlife venues, has just launched a new reservation system to give members access to deals at bars and restaurants in Los Angeles. Members can get 50% off the bar tab by paying a $10 reservation fee for a $100 tab or a $50 fee for a $500 bottle-service tab. Once the reservations are made, the consumer is given a speakeasy-type password to be used at the bar. Bevvy says that, because it makes money through the reservation fees, merchants receive 100% of the sales from customers. It claims over 10,000 members and expects to drive $12 million in sales for merchants over the next year. The promotions made available on Bevvy will soon also be featured on Gilt City, a leading lifestyle site that offers local deals.

•Louisiana-based craft brewer The Abita Brewing Co. is set to release can packaging for three of its flagship beers in the U.S. market. Beginning early 2012, the brewer’s Abita Amber, Purple Haze and Jockamo I.P.A. labels will be available in canned six- or 12-packs, priced in equivalence to the brands’ existing glass packages. According to Abita, the company projects an overall production volume of more than 130,000 barrels for 2011, bolstered in part by its additional flagship brands, Abita Golden, Light, Turbodog and Restoration Pale Ale.

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