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News Briefs for August 21, 2014

August 21, 2014

•In response to Western economic sanctions, Russia announced in early August that it is banning imports of a long list of food items from the U.S., European Union and Australia. Wine is not on the list for now, but that may change—Russia has barred wines before, blocking imports from neighbor Georgia. Sanctions would be bad news for a growing number of American wineries that see potential in the Russian market. The value of U.S. wine exports to Russia almost doubled between 2012 and 2013, from $5.3 million to $11.1 million, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Wine Spectator has the full story.

Francis Ford Coppola Winery has introduced the new Gia by Gia Coppola wine range in the U.S. Crafted by Gia Coppola, granddaughter of Francis Ford Coppola, in partnership with winemaker Corey Beck, the California brand features a Frizzante Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir, priced at around $14-$15 a bottle. The lineup, which, according to Gia Coppola, is targeted toward a younger LDA demographic, is currently available nationwide. The brand joins Francis Ford Coppola Winery’s existing portfolio, including its Diamond Collection, Rosso & Bianco, Sofia, Director’s and Director’s Cut labels, among others.

•After enjoying rapid growth over the past few years, Connecticut-based Votto Vines Importing has earned a spot on Inc.’s 500 list. Votto ranked 464th overall and 14th among food and beverage companies on the 2014 edition of the Inc. list, which ranks the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. Votto says it’s the first-ever wine importing and distribution company to rank on the list. The company’s Inc. 500 profile reports that it has three-year revenue growth of 1,023%, with sales of $384,000 in 2010 jumping to $4.3 million last year. Votto Vines CFO Stephen Votto says the company’s goal is to reach $10 million in sales by 2015 by broadening its distribution footprint and debuting a proprietary wine brand late this year or early next year under the label Hidden Vines.

•Chilean wine brand Epica has added an Argentine Malbec to its lineup. Sourced from Mendoza, Epica Malbec marks the brand’s foray into the Argentine segment, and is positioned to appeal to a more experimental Millennial consumer, says Epica brand director Sebastian Reitze. Epica Malbec, which joins Epica’s existing red blend, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc, will being rolling out across select retail outlets nationwide this month, priced at $10.99 a 750-ml. Handled in the U.S. by Shaw-Ross, Epica is owned by the VSPT Wine Group, a subsidiary of Chilean conglomerate Compañía Cervecerías Unidas. This year, the brand is projected to sell around 60,000 cases stateside.

•Clément USA’s Rhum Clément is celebrating its 125th anniversary with the launch of a new limited edition bottle. Designed by street artist JonOne, the commemorative Clément VSOP Rhum Agricole Vieux packaging features graffiti imagery and will be limited to 10,000 bottles. The release is set to make its debut next month. Clément USA is the U.S. subsidiary of Martinique-based rum producer Héritiers H. Clément SA.

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