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News Briefs for May 5, 2014

May 5, 2014

•Convicted wine counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan’s lawyers have asked a federal judge to free him soon. In a memo to U.S. District Judge Richard Berman, the attorneys argue that when Kurniawan is sentenced on May 29, the judge should sentence him to time served—the roughly 27 months since his arrest that he has been in a Brooklyn detention center. Convicted last year of schemes to counterfeit wine and defraud a finance company, Kurniawan faces a maximum sentence of 20 years on each count and possible fines. Their filing with the court also offers new details of Kurniawan’s origins and attempts to explain how he ended up producing fakes of some of the world’s most famous wines. Wine Spectator has the full story here.

•Florida-based Indigo Wine Group is launching Rustenberg Estate Wines’ Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon in the U.S., beginning with the newly released 2012 vintage. The latest entry in Rustenberg’s portfolio, Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from South Africa’s Stellenbosch region and retails at $22 a 750-ml. The wine joins the brand’s existing U.S. portfolio, including its Stellenbosch Sauvignon Blanc ($22), Peter Barlow Cabernet Sauvignon ($49.99), Five Soldiers Chardonnay ($49.99), John X Merriman Bordeaux blend ($29.99), Rustenberg Sauvignon Blanc ($12.99) and Established 1682 Red and White ($12.99). Rustenberg, which was founded in Stellenbosch in 1682, is one of the South African Cape’s original wine estates.

•Sonoma-based winery Truett-Hurst has partnered with Vancouver’s Trialto Wine Group to expand into the Canadian market. Under the new agreement, which spans all territories and provinces of Canada, Truett-Hurst has begun rolling out its wines across the country, with a few brands “showing dramatic growth in the very early days,” says Truett-Hurst co-founder and CEO Phillip Hurst. Known for supplying private label wines to retailers such as Trader Joe’s, Safeway and Total Wine & More, Truett-Hurst also markets its own brands, including the Truett-Hurst, VML, Healdsburg Ranches and Bradford Mountain labels, among others.

•E.&J. Gallo has extended its fast-growing New Amsterdam vodka brand with two new flavors, Pineapple and Orange. Available nationally, New Amsterdam Pineapple and New Amsterdam Orange retail at $14.99 a 750-ml. They join Red Berry, Peach, Citron and Coconut in the New Amsterdam vodka flavor stable. An Impact “Hot Brand,” New Amsterdam vodka leapt 80% to 2 million cases in U.S. depletions last year.

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