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

News Briefs for March 19, 2014

March 19, 2014

•Rioja-based wine producer Compañia Vinicola del Norte de España (CUNE) has agreed to acquire Japanese wine distributor Mikuni Wine Co., based in Tokyo, from Mikuni Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Ltd., for an undisclosed sum. One of Japan’s leading premium wine distributors, Mikuni had revenues of JPY3.4 billion ($34m) last year, up 14.5%, and counts wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy, the U.S., Spain, Italy, Argentina and New Zealand in its portfolio. CUNE, whose Rioja Imperial Gran Reserva 2004 was Wine Spectator’s wine of the year for 2013, has a market capitalization of roughly $350 million. The company says the move for Mikuni, expected to close the end of this month, is in line with its desire to bolster its international distribution platform.

•Bloomington, Indiana’s Oliver Winery has partnered with several West Coast grape growers to launch a new premium California wine range. Available this month, Oliver Winery’s Vine Series features three California wines, including a Chardonnay, Moscato and Dry Red blend. The trio is priced at under $15 a bottle. The Vine Series joins Oliver’s existing portfolio of roughly 60 wines made with grapes sourced from throughout the U.S. The winery currently sells more than 340,000 cases in the U.S., with its popular Soft Red and Soft White blends among its biggest sellers at roughly 30,000 cases each.

•California’s Scheid Family Wines has linked with television host Kathie Lee Gifford to debut Gifft, a new premium wine range. Sourced from Scheid’s Monterey estate vineyards, Gifft’s initial offerings include a 2012 Estate Grown Chardonnay and 2011 Estate Grown Red Blend, featuring Merlot, Petite Sirah, Syrah and Petit Verdot, among other varietals. Both wines are priced at $20 a 750-ml. Launching this month, Gifft will be available nationwide at retail and online. Scheid Family Wines, which owns 10 estate vineyards along Monterey’s Salinas Valley, specializes in producing custom-made wines for other wineries, as well as its own Scheid Vineyards range.

•California-based Epic Wines has been named the exclusive national importer for Chile’s Odfjell Vineyards, including its Armador, Orzada and Aliara tiers, which range from around $12 and up. Focusing on organic farming, Odfjell sources fruit from estate vineyards in four Chilean appellations: Maipo (Padre Hurtado), Maule/Cauquenes (Tres Esquinas), Lontué (Rivera del Rio) and Colchagua (Rio de Piedros).

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