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Mariani Family Unveils New Venture For Northwest Portfolio Expansion

November 2, 2011

The Mariani Family, which acquired Washington’s Pacific Rim Winemakers this past January, is opening a new venture, VinMotion, to handle Pacific Rim and create a platform for more Northwest wine labels. In addition to Pacific Rim, which specializes in Riesling in the $10-$13 segment, VinMotion’s portfolio will have similarly priced Sweet Bliss, a year-old Washington brand billed as the only domestic winery focused exclusively on sweet blends made from vinifera grapes (including red, white and pink variants); and a new Oregon-sourced label, Rainstorm, set to launch in January of next year. Rainstorm will include Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris variants, priced at $16 and $13 respectively.

VinMotion will be led by the Pacific Rim team: Nicolas Quillé, winemaker and general manager; Steve Doyle, vice president, sales; Shawn Bavaresco, vice president, brand development director; and Ann Spitzenberger, controller. Bavaresco said the goal was to “deliver 360-degree wine experiences that reach far beyond the wine aisle” by building communities of brand loyalists with a focus on social media strategies.

In Pacific Rim, which the Marianis purchased from Bonny Doon Vineyards founder Randall Grahm for an undisclosed sum, VinMotion has a brand on which to build. An Impact “Hot Prospect,” Pacific Rim has nearly doubled in U.S. volume since 2008, reaching 165,000 cases on 33% growth in 2010. The winery is targeting production of 271,000 cases this year. The Mariani Family owns Banfi Vintners and has a joint venture, Excelsior Wine Co., with ViñaConcha y Toro, which handles Concha y Toro’s Chilean wines and those of its Argentine subsidiary Trivento, as well as Concha y Toro’s California labels Little Black Dress and Five Rivers.

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