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News Briefs for August 14, 2014

August 14, 2014

•Diageo is set to break ground on its Shelby County, Kentucky distillery project on August 21, according to local reports. The project, expected to cost $115 million and be completed by late 2016, will result in a facility capable of producing 750,000 nine-liter cases annually. Diageo says the Shelby County distillery will produce a number of its current and future Bourbon and North American whiskey brands.

•New Jersey-based Opici Wines is launching a new Prosecco brand, LaLuca, in the U.S. market. Produced in the Treviso sub-appellation of Veneto, Italy, LaLuca is billed as an off-dry wine made with Glera grapes, which are vinified in stainless steel via the Charmat method. LaLuca Prosecco will initially be available across Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Washington, D.C. in both 750-ml. and 187-ml. formats, priced at $12.99 a 750-ml. LaLuca joins Opici’s existing portfolio of more than 50 wine brands from the U.S., Italy, Spain, France, Chile, Argentina and Hungary.

•Chilean wine brand Santa Rita, imported by Palm Bay International, is introducing a new red blend to the U.S. market called Secret Reserve. Available nationwide for $11.99, Secret Reserve combines Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Petit Verdot and Carmenere, which are fermented separately prior to blending. Secret Reserve follows the February debut of Santa Rita’s 120 Hero’s Salute Red Blend, a Cabernet Franc-based blend created to honor the 120 Chileans that took refuge in Santa Rita’s manor house during the country’s 19th century war with Spain. 120 Hero’s Salute retails for $8.99. In addition to Santa Rita, Palm Bay’s Chile portfolio includes the Amaral, Erasmo, Intriga, MontGras, Nativa and Terra Andina brands.

•Spain’s Rueda region saw a 17% jump in production over the first half of this year, on a rise of 6.3 million bottles. Rueda’s signature white Verdejo grape accounted for nearly two-thirds of the increase. Production of Verdejo surged 18% for Rueda’s 2013 vintage, while the region’s Sauvignon Blanc output dropped 12%. Overall, global exports of Rueda wines rose 11% in 2013, compared with the prior year. Rueda volume in the U.S., currently around 100,000 cases, grew by 15%-20% last year, amid a five-year $21 million joint campaign launched by the D.O. Rueda and neighboring Ribera del Duero aimed at increasing exposure in the market.

•Chinaco Tequila has debuted a new package and label update across its full lineup. The super-premium, 100%-agave brand, which is handled in the U.S. by Anchor Distilling, now features a more “classic” look, reminiscent of single malt whisky packaging, as well as a slimmer bottle designed to take up less space. According to Anchor Distilling president David King, Chinaco’s makeover comes as the U.S. Tequila category grows increasingly crowded, resulting in “pressure on both the back bar and retail shelf.” First launched in the U.S. market in 1983, Chinaco Tequila’s portfolio includes Blanco ($29.99), Reposado ($49.99) and Añejo ($68.99) entries.

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