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

News Briefs for August 29, 2013

August 29, 2013

•St. Helena, California-based Wilson Daniels has added upscale French wine brand Chêne Bleu to its U.S. import portfolio. Located in the southern Rhône, Chêne Bleu is a 450-acre private estate specializing in biodynamic, holistic and organic practices. Under the new partnership, Wilson Daniels will distribute the winery’s flagship red wines, which include its Grenache-based blend Abélard and Syrah-based blend Héloïse, its white wines Aliot and Viognier and its direct-press Rosé in the U.S. market. Chêne Bleu marks Wilson Daniels’s ninth French wine brand, as well as its second Rhône offering, joining Tardieu-Laurent.

•Hispanic consumers represent a huge untapped growth avenue for the wine industry, according to a new Rabobank report that says the demographic has the potential to add 50 million cases to the U.S. wine market over the next 20 years. That forecast—which assumes that Hispanics will be drinking wine in equal proportions with the general market within two decades—probably represents a best-case scenario, but it does point out the vast opportunity latent among the Hispanic consumer group. Marketers in both wine and spirits have increasingly been targeting Hispanics with new brand propositions and marketing campaigns. Treasury Wine, for example, has been testing a new Hispanic-focused brand, Los Hermanos, in 10 markets. The company’s managing director for Beringer, John Grant, told SND earlier this year that the new offering was drawing in both Hispanic and general market drinkers. Speaking at the Impact Marketing Seminar in March, Brown-Forman North America president Mike Keyes added that multicultural consumers represent “the emerging market within the U.S.—if you miss this boat you’re going to have a really hard time growing your business.”

•Mount Pleasant, South Carolina-based Total Beverage Solution (TBS) has added four new brands to its portfolio: McIvor Finest Scotch Whisky, Amaro Montenegro herbal liqueur, Vecchia Romagna Italian brandy and Dolce Nero espresso liqueur. TBS is taking over for Hallandale Beach, Florida-based Berniko to handle McIvor, which has grown to 20,000 cases in the U.S. across 14 states. The four brands will add 30,000 nine-liter cases total to Total Beverage’s volume. The TBS portfolio also includes spirits such as Berentzen, Bluecoat gin and The Bay, beers such as Banks and Coopers and wines including Marco Negri and Kono. Concurrent with the addition of the brands is the appointment of industry veteran Neal Horgan as general manager of wine and spirits.

•Troubled Sonoma Valley winery Viansa has again been put up for sale, listed by Sotheby’s International Realty for $15 million. Viansa, founded by Sam Sebastiani in 1989, is currently owned by hedge fund Laurus Master Fund, which acquired it for $40.5 million from previous owners 360 Global Wine Co. through a bankruptcy process in 2007. The Tuscan-style winery and marketplace, once a popular tourist destination that drew 300,000 visitors annually and produced around 50,000 cases, was unloaded by Sam Sebastiani’s family to 360 Global for $31 million in 2005.

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