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News Briefs for September 22, 2014

September 22, 2014

•New York-based Dreyfus, Ashby & Co. has added three family-owned wine brands—Champagne Drappier, Marqués de Vargas and J. Hofstätter—to its import portfolio on an exclusive basis, effective this month. Drappier, whose Champagnes run from about $50 and up, has received more than 50 scores of 90 points or higher from Wine Spectator. Marqués de Vargas is an upscale Rioja producer whose winery is located in Rioja Alta west of Logroño in the Ebro Valley. J. Hofstätter, meanwhile, produces a host of premium-and-above wines from Italy’s Alto Adige, where it owns about 50 hectares (125 acres) of estate vineyards.

•Diageo has settled its legal dispute with New York City’s Explorers Club, which had sued in 2012 to prevent the drinks giant from using the club’s name on a special edition of Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky. Under a new global sponsorship and licensing agreement, the terms of which weren’t disclosed, the Scotch brand will become a corporate sponsor of the historic club, which will serve as inspiration for the Johnnie Walker Explorers’ Club Collection going forward. In August, a New York state judge had barred Diageo from using The Explorers Club moniker on the special Johnnie Walker range, which retails at $43-$159 a liter.

•Van Gogh Imports is releasing Tap Rye Sherry Finished 8-year-old Canadian whisky to the U.S. market next month. The 8-year-old Canadian rye whisky is blended with Spanish Amontillado Sherry from Spain’s Jerez region in small batches by master blender Michel Marcel in Quebec. It’s then rested in charred white oak Bourbon barrels for more than 60 days. It will be available in U.S. retail accounts beginning mid-October for $39.99 a 750-ml. The Tap Whisky Finished Collection also includes Tap 357 Canadian Maple Rye Whisky and Tap Port Finished Canadian Rye Whisky.

•Enovation Brands will debut a new red blend next month under the Voga Italia label called Red Fusion. Available nationwide starting in October, Red Fusion takes on the growing trend in the U.S. market for red blends with 65% Zinfandel and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon from Italy’s southern Salento region. Red Fusion features notes of blackberry, cherry and raspberry for a food-friendly blend, according to the company. The release will be packaged in Voga Italia’s trademark cylindrical bottle with a re-sealable cap and retails for $11.99 a 750 ml. Other wines within the Voga Italia collection include Pinot Grigio, Prosecco, Sparkling Moscato and Dolce Rosso.

•BevMo has appointed Cathy Stauffer independent chairman of its board of directors. Stauffer, who has more than 30 years of business and branding experience, currently heads her own consulting firm, Cathy Stauffer Consulting. Previously, she has served as executive vice president of digital media and content company Premier Retail Networks and as chief marketing officer of consumer electronics marketer Gateway Computers. BevMo currently operates 154 stores across California, Arizona and Washington state.

•Edward Nemo has retired as president of RNDC Ohio, after leading the spirits and wine wholesaler’s operations in that market for nearly 20 years. Nemo began his career in the wine industry with Midwest Wine & Spirits, an Ohio-based spirits brokerage company, in 1977. Midwest was sold to National Distributing Co. in 1995, and Nemo has led RNDC’s Ohio business since then. RNDC says Nemo’s replacement will be named at a later date.

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