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News Briefs for May 14, 2014

May 14, 2014

•Livermore, California-based Wente Vineyards has revamped the packaging for its flagship wine portfolio. Featuring a more contemporary look and updated color scheme, the Wente Vineyards redesign also places added emphasis on Wente’s Single Vineyard and Estate Grown designations. To better differentiate the two tiers, Single Vineyard labels now include a signature from winemaker Karl Wente, while Estate Grown labels feature a watermark of the Wente family’s Cresta Blanca estate. Debuting later this month, the redesigned packaging will be available at retail nationwide. Along with its eponymous brand, Wente Vineyards—an Impact “Hot Brand” up 16% to 335,000 cases in 2013—the company also produces Entwine, a brand launched in partnership with the Food Network.

•Sam Sebastiani has unveiled a new wine brand, La Chertosa, billed as an “Old World”-style small-lot label. La Chertosa is currently rolling out in California, Colorado and Nebraska with wines including a 2012 Sonoma Valley Reserve Chardonnay, a 2012 Sonoma Valley Reserve Sangiovese and a 2012 Amador County Zinfandel. Formerly head of Sebastiani Vineyards (now part of the Foley Family Wines portfolio), Sam Sebastiani’s other winemaking projects have included Viansa Winery, which was sold for $31 million to 360 Global Wine Partners in 2005.

•Oregon’s Adelsheim Vineyard has purchased a 59-acre property in the Chehalem Mountains AVA, including the 20-acre Bryan Creek Vineyard, which it already leased from owners the Howell family. The purchase will allow Adelsheim—which produces 40,000 cases a year from 10 vineyard sites in the Willamette Valley—to upgrade plantings and add up to 15 acres of new vineyards on the property. Fruit from Bryan Creek already contributes to several wines from Adelsheim, such as its Pinot Blanc, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, Elizabeth’s Reserve Pinot Noir and Bryan Creek Pinot Noir.

•Salem, Oregon-based Pinot Noir producer Willamette Valley Vineyards posted a 2.3% drop in revenue to $2.97 million in the first quarter of 2014. Net income also fell, down 41%. The downturn was driven primarily by slow sales through distributors, which fell 9%, even as direct sales increased by 16%. General and administrative expenses for the quarter, meanwhile, were particularly high, due in part to start-up costs associated with Willamette Valley’s recently remodeled Hospitality Center, which opened earlier this month.

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