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News Briefs for November 19, 2013

November 19, 2013

•Excelsior Wine Co., the U.S. joint venture between Concha y Toro and Banfi Vintners, has named John Dougherty national sales director. The appointment represents the first in a series of new initiatives and structural changes underway following the recent appointment of Marc Goodrich to serve as company president, Excelsior said. Dougherty, who joined Excelsior in 2011, was previously Southeast Region manager, overseeing current-year sales growth of 7%. Prior to that, he spent time in the Palm Bay, Aveníu Brands and E&J Gallo organizations.

•Southern Wine & Spirits of California (SWS-CA) has reorganized its senior executive team, a move which includes the creation of two new positions. Former SWS-CA senior vice president, general manager (Northern California) Steve Harden has been promoted to the new role of executive vice president, sales. Harden, who has been with Southern for 25 years, will lead a four-person team focused on day-to-day commercial execution. SWS says a replacement as SVP, general manager-Northern California will be named later this year. Additionally, 20-year SWS veteran Patrick Daul has been named to the new role of senior vice president, commercial strategy, handling SWS-California’s corporate strategy, business intelligence, customer relationship management and other functions. Daul’s previous title was senior vice president, sales & marketing. Both positions, which go into effect January 1, will report directly to SWS-CA executive vice president, general manager Jack Brennan.

•Andre Crisp has been named president and CEO of Napa-based Luna Vineyards and The Luna Collection. Crisp was previously president of Luna Vineyards Sales Company, a position he’s held for the past 18 months. In his new role, Crisp will oversee all winery operations for Luna, which was founded by former Beringer president Mike Moone in 1995. Moone, who serves as chairman, said Crisp brings a strong operational focus to the chief executive position and in his previous role proved his capability to increase revenues and drive profitability, generating strong sales growth. In addition to estate winery Luna Vineyards, the company’s portfolio includes the Arnold Palmer Wines, aCrisp Wines and Lunatic brands.

Brown-Forman has revamped the packaging for its premium, 100%-agave El Jimador Tequila range. In addition to featuring an embossed image of a Jimador (agave farmer), the new look also features a bigger, more modern bottle, a colored metallic label and uniform caps. The updated packaging will debut across the full El Jimador lineup, supported by a digital, print and social media push and a new, more user-friendly website. Produced at Casa Herradura, El Jimador—which offers Blanco, Reposado and Añejo expressions—is joined by the Herradura, Don Eduardo and Pepe Lopez brands in Brown-Forman’s Tequila portfolio.

Campari America’s Wild Turkey is re-releasing its Wild Turkey 101 Rye expression in key U.S. markets following a one-year absence. The 101-proof offering will be available in 1-liter bottles across 21 markets, in the on-premise only. Although availability of 101 Rye will remain limited, Campari’s Wild Turkey 81 Rye ($22.99 a 750-ml.)—which is made with four- to five-year-old rye whiskey—will continue to be available nationwide. Last year, Wild Turkey was forced to suspend production of Rye 101, following rye whiskey’s sudden, unexpected rise in the U.S. and the category’s subsequent shortage. In 2012, the rye whiskey category rose 41% to 275,000 cases, according to Impact Databank.

•California music executive Jay Boberg and Burgundian winemaker Jean-Nicolas Méo of Domaine Méo-Camuzet have announced their formation of a partnership, the latest in a string of high-profile international winemaking collaborations to be announced in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Wine Spectator reports. For the 2013 vintage, Méo and Boberg will produce approximately 300 cases of Pinot Noir selected from two blocks of the historic Maresh Vineyard in the Willamette Valley’s Dundee Hills. Méo, who learned his craft from Henri Jayer, is consulting winemaker on the as-yet-unnamed project. His winery in the village of Vosne-Romanée is one of Burgundy’s top producers.

•Chicago-based Mercadito Hospitality is set to debut three new outposts in Chicago, San Diego and Philadelphia next year. The restaurant group will unveil two new concepts, including Mercadito Counter—a Mexican deli-inspired eatery—in Chicago, and its Mercadito Wheels food truck in San Diego, which will offer classics like tacos, nachos and flautas. In Philadelphia, the group is opening the third outpost of its flagship Mercadito concept, joining existing locations in Miami, Chicago and NYC. The new, 6,000-square-foot restaurant will feature traditional Mexican fare and seat around 130 guests. Mercadito Hospitality also operates Double A, Tavernita, Barcito, Little Market Brasserie and the upcoming Tippling Hall concept in Chicago.

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