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

News Briefs for August 15, 2014

August 15, 2014

•California’s wine grape production is forecast to be at 3.9 million tons this year, an 8% decrease from 2013 but still a historically large crop, according to the California office of the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Crop development appears to be on an earlier trajectory than last year, the agency added, while bunch counts were reported to be down from last year’s count. Ongoing drought conditions remain an issue for grape growers in California, and hail during this year’s bloom also affected some vineyards. NASS’s August forecast of the upcoming crop is based on a survey conducted during the last week of July and first week of August.

•Pacific Highway Wines & Spirits has extended its globally-sourced wine brand The Beachhouse with a new California Chardonnay. Retailing at $9.99 a 750-ml., The Beachhouse Chardonnay marks the brand’s first entry that is produced and bottled in California. The newcomer joins The Beachhouse’s existing Sauvignon Blanc, rosé and red blend from South Africa and its Pinot Grigio from Italy. Launched three years ago, The Beachhouse was up 17% last year to reach 91,000 nine-liter cases in the U.S., according to Impact Databank. Pacific Highway Wines & Spirits is a U.S. sales and marketing offshoot of South African wine and spirits producer DGB.

•Italian fine wine importer Vias Imports is debuting a new line of artisanal spirits from Sibona Antica Distilleria in the U.S. market. Located in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy, family-owned Sibona Antica is working with Vias to bring its line of grappas and liqueurs to the U.S. The initial introduction will include 1-liter offerings of aperitif Amaro Sibona ($29.99, 28%-abv), Chamomile Grappa-Infused Liqueur ($35.99, 32%-abv), Tennessee Wood Aged Grappa Riserva ($69.99, 44%-abv) and Uve di Langa Grappa Brandy ($62.99, 40%-abv). Plans are in place to extend the line in 2015. New York-based Vias Imports has a portfolio with more than 60 products, including Produttori del Barbaresco and Damilano.

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