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

News Briefs for October 3, 2014

October 3, 2014

•Target has opened its first liquor store in Minnesota since 1971. The store, which began operating on Wednesday, is located within the Super Target in Otsego, Minnesota, about 35 miles northwest of Minneapolis. The 1,600-square-foot space has a separate entrance as mandated by state law, just inside the main doors of the Super Target. Other chain retailers including Lunds/Byerly’s, Sam’s Club and Costco sell alcohol Minnesota. Walmart’s stores don’t sell alcohol in the state, leaving that to Sam’s Club, and Target had resisted the idea until it announced plans for the Otsego unit in June. Target has sold wine, beer and spirits in other states since 1996. About 1,300 of its 1,800 stores in the United States are now licensed.

•The Edrington Group has officially unveiled Macallan Rare Cask, a new expression within the luxury malt’s core range that SND originally reported August 14. Aged in handpicked Spanish oak Sherry seasoned casks, Rare Cask is presented in a sculpted, heavy glass decanter and retails at $300 a 750-ml. The ruby red-hued single malt carries an alcohol-by-volume of 43%. The Macallan, the second-largest single malt in the U.S. market after Glenlivet, rose 20% to 186,000 cases last year, earning Impact “Hot Prospect” honors.

•Brown-Forman-owned wine brand Sonoma-Cutrer is introducing a new entry in its Winemaker’s Release Series, Founders Reserve Legacy. Created by current Sonoma-Cutrer winemaker Mick Schroeter along with his two predecessors Bill Bonetti and Terry Adams—Founders Reserve Legacy is a Chardonnay from the 2012 vintage that will be offered in select U.S. markets at a retail price of $65. The first installment in the Winemaker’s Release Series was a Late Harvest Chardonnay.

•TGIC Global Fine Wine Company is set to assume sales and marketing duties for the Tensley Wines and Lea labels in the U.S. market. Tensley Wines, which are under the oversight of Joey Tensley, is known for upscale Syrah from Santa Barbara County. The brand has earned more than 20 scores of 90+ from Wine Spectator since 2005. Lea, made by Joey’s wife Jennifer Tensley, produces single-vineyard Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir, Rosé and Chardonnay. Prior to working with TGIC, both of these brands were largely sold via their wine clubs and Los Olivos, California tasting room. TGIC will now introduce them to wider distribution, although they’ll still be allocated and limited to select markets. In addition, Joey Tensley and TGIC founder and CEO Alex Guarachi have collaborated to create a new Santa Barbara Rhône blend called Tensh_n, which will retail at $25.

•Brothers Carlo and Dante Mondavi, sons of Napa Valley winemaker Tim Mondavi and grandsons of Robert Mondavi, have launched a new wine brand, Raen Winery, specializing in single-vineyard Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast. Raen is an acronym standing for “Research in Agriculture and Enology Naturally,” reflecting the brothers’ appreciation for natural winemaking. For its debut release from the 2013 vintage, Raen will release three Pinot Noirs—from Fort Ross-Seaview, Occidental and Sonoma Coast, respectively—in very small quantities.

•MillerCoors is extending its Steel Reserve brand with a new flavored malt beverage (FMB), Spiked Punch. An 8% abv offering, Spiked Punch is part of Steel Reserve’s Alloy Series of accessibly-priced FMBs, which debuted with a BLK Berry flavor a year ago. “BLK Berry continues seeing distribution gains while maintaining strong consumer pull. Steel Reserve Alloy Series’ volume has been highly incremental to both MillerCoors and the overall beer category, sourcing over 45% of its volume from wine and spirits,” said Malini Patel, MillerCoors’ brand marketing director of its economy portfolio. Both Alloy Series flavors are available nationally in 24-ounce and 16-ounce cans.

•Michigan is anticipating a reduced winegrape harvest for 2014, following one of the state’s coldest growing seasons in recent history. According to the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council, this year’s harvest is expected to drop by around 50%, down from last year’s record 7,600 tons. Due to healthy harvests in both 2012 and 2013, however, Michigan’s grape inventories are likely to remain stable, though the council warned that certain style and label selections may be limited. Michigan ranks among the top 10 wine-producing states in the U.S.


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