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

News Briefs for August 12, 2014

August 12, 2014

Jackson Family Wines’ La Crema brand has launched Virtual Vintner, an interactive digital program that will result in a new crowd-sourced wine. Kicking off this week, the Virtual Vintner platform asks participants to vote on a variety of winemaking decisions, including varietal, appellation, vineyard, barrel treatment, wine name and label design. The resulting La Crema wine is expected to debut in late fall 2015. La Crema, which sells roughly 850,000 cases annually in the U.S., is positioned primarily in the above-$20 range and offers a variety of wines from California’s Russian River Valley, Anderson Valley and Monterey regions, as well as Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Ste. Michelle Wine Estates’ Columbia Crest also announced plans to launch a crowd-sourced wine in recent days.

•Gruppo Campari has debuted a new ad campaign for its Appleton Estate rum titled “From Jamaica With Love.” San Francisco-based Argonaut created the campaign, which encourages consumers to explore Jamaica beyond common stereotypes. Unveiled last week on Jamaican Independence Day, the push includes out-of-home, print and digital executions featuring images of authentic Jamaican scenes. Out-of-home efforts will appear in key markets such as Austin, Atlanta, Miami, Portland and Columbus, Ohio. Campari acquired Appleton in its $415-million deal for Lascelles deMercado early last year.

MillerCoors is currently on the hunt for a new creative agency to handle its Miller Lite beer brand, reports Advertising Age. The company has invited three agencies—including Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett, Chicago; Omnicom Group’s TBWA, Los Angeles; and WWP’s Ogilvy, Chicago-led Royal Order—to submit pitches for a series of Miller Lite ads set to launch in March. The winning agency is expected to be named Miller Lite’s new agency of record. Previously, the brand’s agency of record duties have been split between a variety of WPP offshoots. Miller Lite—which had a measured media spend of around $160 million in 2013, according to Kantar Media—fell 5.9% to 13.7 million barrels in the U.S. last year, according to Impact Databank, and saw sales to retailers decline by low single digits in the three months through June.

•Veteran wine executive Kerry Manahan-Ehlow passed away July 20 at the age of 53. Manahan-Ehlow, who since 2011 had been vice president of global sales and strategy at J Vineyards, began her career at Robert Mondavi Winery in 1984, and went on to hold a host of key sales and marketing roles across a 30-year career in the wine business, among them senior vice president, sales and marketing at Sebastiani Vineyards and vice president, sales and marketing at Foley Family Wines. Manahan-Ehlow also served as a sales and marketing executive at Kendall-Jackson and Matanzas Creek, and in 2002 formed her own label, Amusant Wines, which she sold in 2007.

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