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News Briefs for September 9, 2011

September 9, 2011

• Spectrum Wine Auctions has announced the addition of a major 700-lot, single-owner collection to its upcoming Hong Kong auction, to be held September 24 and 25. Amassed by an unnamed New York-based consignor, “The Majestic Cellar: Property of a Passionate New York Connoisseur” collection is valued at more than $2 million, featuring more than 250 bottles of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, 200 bottles of Screaming Eagle, a wide range of white Burgundies and a variety of large format bottles. In addition to “The Majestic Cellar,” Spectrum’s auction will also feature nearly 100 lots of Petrus, 80 of Lafite Rothschild and 70 of Mouton Rothschild, among others. The 1,606-bottle auction has a pre-sale worth of nearly $6 million.

• In Italy’s Tuscany region, Rosso di Montalcino wines will continue to be made from 100% Sangiovese. Montalcino’s wine producers have rejected two proposals to allow blending other grape varieties (up to 15%) into the Tuscan wine, according to Wine Spectator. Members of the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino met September 7 to debate the idea after several months of study by Consorzio staffers, and 69% of the votes were against the proposals. The debate over using grapes other than Sangiovese intensified after 2007, when a Siena prosecutor accused several wineries of illegally blending other grapes into Brunellos and Rossos and impounded about 800,000 cases of wine. Media reports named Banfi, Argiano, Castelgiocondo and Pian delle Vigne as accused producers, though sources say there were other wineries. None of the wineries admitted any wrongdoing, but several declassified some of the wines—20% in total—releasing them as IGT Toscana.

• As the 2011 football season begins, two NFL franchises have forged ties with the wine and spirits industry. Wine Spectator reports that, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of their first season, the San Diego Chargers have launched a Legacy Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2008. Created by Anthony Bell of Napa’s Bell Wine Cellars, the new offering is priced at $25 a bottle and will be available at all Chargers home games. Concurrently, the Minnesota Vikings have inked a new, three-year marketing deal with Altos Spirits Co.’s Familia Camarena Tequila, granting the brand rights to the Vikings’ logo, as well as in-stadium exposure during all regular season home games.

• Vintners Alliance, a San Francisco-based marketing technology and database firm, has received $1.3 million in funding from Kohlberg Ventures and a group of Silicon Valley angel investors. Founded in 2009 by company chairman Pat Connolly and current president Ahin Thomas, Vintners Alliance aims to introduce modern e-commerce and marketing practices to premium wineries through its proprietary “collaborative database technology.” In addition to his role as chairman of Vintners Alliance, Connolly also serves as executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Williams-Sonoma Inc.

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