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

News Briefs for August 16, 2011

August 16, 2011

Wine Spectator reports that an old horseracing track located in Bordeaux’s Pomerol appellation will soon be producing grapes. Six wine producers bought chunks of the old property at a recent sale and have already begun planting vines. No one has revealed a purchase price, but reports say the lots averaged just under $300,000 per acre, slightly less than the minimum price usually paid for vineyards in this coveted area. Pomerol is currently the second most expensive appellation in France, after Champagne. For more on the story, head to winespectator.com.

•With its Milagro Tequila brand rapidly expanding, William Grant & Sons has named a longtime consumer goods executive to lead its Mexico unit. William Grant has tapped Luis Zubieta for the newly created position of general manager of William Grant & Sons Mexico. Zubieta comes to William Grant after most recently serving as general manager for Red Bull in Mexico. He also previously held executive roles with Group Danone, Blockbuster Video, PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble in Mexico. In his new position, Zubieta is charged with managing Milagro’s business and developing Grant’s stable of global brands in the Mexican market. The super-premium Milagro has advanced by more than 20% in each of the past three years in the U.S. market, where its sales reached an estimated 115,000 cases in 2010, according to Impact Databank.

•The Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) has raised the grape yield limit for Champagne growers by 20%—from 10,500 kilograms per hectare to 12,500—for 2011. The move aims to help Champagne houses meet growing global demand, as sales are expected to grow 2% annually over the next three years. After dropping precipitously in 2008 and 2009, global Champagne shipments rebounded strongly last year, rising nearly 9% to 26.6 million cases, according to Impact Databank.

•In the midst of a rebranding initiative, The Palm Restaurant Group is revamping its overall visual identity, tableware, uniforms, signage, website, menu and advertising. Originally launched last year at The Palm’s Washington D.C. locations, the new branding has since been extended to 20 of the group’s 28 U.S. restaurants, with additional rollouts to take place this year. The platform, created in collaboration with East Coast agency Korn Design, includes a comprehensive menu revamp led by The Palm’s executive chef Tony Tammero and vice president of culinary operations Brian McCardle. The family-owned Palm Restaurant Group opened its first restaurant—Palm One—in New York City in 1926.

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