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

News Briefs for February 25, 2013

February 25, 2013

•The family of Nelson Mandela has introduced a new line of South African wines to the U.S. market. House of Mandela Wines launched at the 2013 South Beach Wine and Food Festival this past weekend. The company produces two tiers—the Royal Reserve collection and the Thembu collection—as well as a sparkling wine. Prices range from around $12.99-$15.99 for the Thembu collection to about $48-$51 for the Royal Reserve Shiraz and Cabernet. The labels on the screwcap bottles feature an image of a bee (the company’s logo). House of Mandela has said that it will donate a portion of the wine sales to charitable groups in South Africa.

Camus Cognac has unveiled a limited edition offering commemorating its 150th anniversary. Camus Cuvée 5.150 is a blend of Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Fins Bois, Bon Bois and Borderies Cognacs, of which 1,492 individually numbered decanters were produced, priced at $13,500 each. Camus, the world’s fifth-largest Cognac producer, has annual sales of €150 million ($198m) and global volume of over 400,000 cases.

•Exports of Provence rosé to the U.S. jumped 41% to more than 280,000 nine-liter cases in the 12 months through last November, reports the Provence Wine Council. The increase extends the category’s run of double-digit U.S. growth, which has proceeded unabated since 2003. Premium imported rosé is also showing a strong performance beyond the Provence segment. Imported rosés above $12 a bottle grew 28% by volume and 23% by dollar value in the U.S. in the 52 weeks through January 5, according to Nielsen.

•The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has recognized cachaça as a distinctive rum product of Brazil. The ruling, effective April 11, will ensure that all imported products labeled “cachaça” are made in compliance with Brazilian laws, use no corn or corn syrup in fermentation and are bottled under the U.S. rum standard of not less than 40% abv. (Brazilian standards allow cachaça to be bottled at anywhere between 38%-48% abv.) Cachaça products sold in the U.S. will no longer be required to feature the class designation “rum” on their label, and can choose to be labeled with or without the diacritic mark. The TTB ruling follows last year’s agreement between the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Brazilian government, in which the former agreed to recognize cachaça as a distinctive Brazilian product in exchange for recognition of Bourbon whiskey and Tennessee whiskey as distinctive products of the U.S.

Darden Restaurants Inc. has entered into a development agreement to bring 57 of its restaurants to Latin America. The agreement grants International Meal Co., a Latin America-based restaurant operator with more than 350 company-owned units, the exclusive rights to develop Darden’s Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse brands in Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Panama. Darden also recently entered agreements with franchisees to expand its brands throughout the Middle East and in Japan and Puerto Rico. While the company does not franchise any of its restaurants in the U.S., most of its international units are not company operated. Darden Restaurants is also the owner of Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House, operating more than 2,000 restaurants that generate $8 billion in annual sales.


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