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EXCLUSIVE: Deutsch, Precept Partner On New Restaurant-Focused Washington Wine Brand

December 17, 2013

Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits is poised to enter the Washington wine category, partnering with Pacific Northwest producer Precept Wine on a new on-premise focused brand, Shanken News Daily has learned. The new label, Skyfall Vineyard, will debut next June. The brand’s moniker was inspired by Precept’s Yakima Valley vineyard of the same name.

The first wines in the Skyfall line will be Columbia Valley-appellated Pinot Gris, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon varietals, all price-positioned to sell at under $10 by-the-glass in the on-premise. Seattle-based Precept will produce the wines, with Deutsch handling sales, marketing and distribution. Initially, Skyfall will see a production run of 10,000 cases for each SKU, for a total of 30,000 cases.

Deutsch sees the move as an opportunity to capitalize on the growing popularity of Washington wines, whose sales increased 6% by volume in IRI channels year-to-date through December 1. On the value side, Washington wine has jumped nearly 20% over the past two years, according to Nielsen.

“We’ve been interested in expanding our portfolio with Washington wines for some time,” said Deutsch Family president Tom Steffanci. “The key was finding the right partner.” Precept, now the largest privately-owned winemaker in the Pacific Northwest, was the right fit, Steffanci explained, describing the group as “a like-minded privately-held company with an excellent track record of producing outstanding Washington wines from their vast array of vineyards.”

Precept has been expanding aggressively in recent years through a combination of acquisitions and organic growth. With key Washington brands including Chocolate Shop ($12-$15), Radius ($10), House Wine ($10) and Waterbrook ($11-$55), the company told SND earlier this year it expects to pass the 1-million-case mark for 2013.

Deutsch and Precept say they intend to build the Skyfall brand “methodically, one glass at a time, restaurant by restaurant.”

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