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News Briefs for February 8, 2012

February 8, 2012

•Duckhorn Wine Co. is partnering with Ruth’s Chris Steak House for the release of the new 2009 vintage of its Paraduxx Z Blend Napa Valley Red. The vintage will be introduced at the Duckhorn Portfolio Wine Dinners held at 81 Ruth’s Chris locations across the country on March 1. The dinners (priced at $110 per person) will feature a four-course meal with pairings of four wines from the Duckhorn Vineyards portfolio—Migration Russian River Valley Chardonnay, Goldeneye Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, Three Palms Vineyard and the Paraduxx Z Blend. The 2009 Paraduxx blend is already available at retail in limited markets in the U.S. for $48 a 750-ml.

•New York City-based Panache Beverage, Inc. expects to release its new Alibi American Whiskey to the U.S. market in the second quarter of 2012. The company said it has already received pre-orders reaching 22,000 nine-liter cases. Priced around $25.95 a 750-ml., Alibi is distilled from American grain and aged for four years in new American oak barrels. It’s the first foray into the brown spirits market for Panache, whose portfolio also includes Wódka Vodka and Alchemia Infused Vodka.

•Lanson-BCC, which entered the U.S. market with its Lanson Champagne brand through a partnership with Moët Hennessy last fall, saw global sales grow 1.6% to €310 million ($411m) for calendar 2011. Sales ramped up their momentum slightly in the group’s fourth quarter, rising 2.3%. The value increase was buttressed by improving price/mix, as Lanson-BCC’s volume slipped 7.7% for the year. Early estimates from the Comité Interprofessionel des Vins de Champagne (CIVC) peg global Champagne sales around 330 million bottles on a 3% increase for 2011.

•Whisky Advocate has named Macallan Royal Wedding Limited Edition (46.8%-abv, £150/$237 a bottle) as its Speyside Single Malt Whisky of the Year. Individual winners from the 18th annual installment of the Whisky Advocate Awards are being unveiled one day at a time through February 13 at WhiskyAdvocateBlog.com, and will also be featured in the magazine’s upcoming Spring edition, due out March 1.

•Chicago restaurateurs Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas are looking to expand their acclaimed cocktail lounge The Aviary, though no specific plan or date has been set. The duo is eyeing several venues in New York City, as well as Miami, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Shanghai and Singapore. Achatz and Kokonas opened The Aviary in Chicago last spring and it became a huge hit, thanks to its experimental cocktails and highly stylized and efficient service. Achatz and Kokonas also own the three Michelin starred restaurant Alinea, which opened in 2005, and the restaurant Next, which opened along with The Aviary in April 2011. The Aviary expansion would be Achatz and Kokonas’s first business venture outside of Chicago.

•New York-based nightclub Marquee is opening its third location in The Star Hotel and Casino in Sydney, Australia, having debuted its second space in Las Vegas in 2011. The Sydney Marquee is slated to open March 30, joining David Chang’s restaurant Seibo, which he opened in The Star this past October. The Star Hotel and Casino is Sydney’s only casino and entertainment complex. Marquee, which debuted in New York City in 2004, is owned by Noah Tepperberg, Jason Strauss, Marc Packer, Rich Wolf and Lou Abin.

•St. Helena, California’s Spring Mountain Vineyard has added veteran wine execs Tony Glorioso and Kenneth “Scotty” Barbour to its sales and marketing team. Glorioso will serve as Spring Mountain’s director of national sales & marketing, while Barbour has been named director of international sales, strategy & key accounts. Prior to joining the winery, Glorioso had most recently filled the role of vice president, national sales at Tuck Beckstoffer Wines, following similar stints at Caymus, Kuleto Estate, Rosenblum Cellars, Robert Mondavi and Franciscan. Barbour, meanwhile, has served as svp/group manager at Kobrand Corp., as well as director of domestic and worldwide sales & marketing at Opus One for more than a decade.

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