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News Briefs for October 17, 2014

October 17, 2014

•In the third quarter of 2014, the Wine Spectator Auction Index, which tracks sales of commercial wine auctions in the United States, barely budged, inching ahead by 0.2% from 337.63 to 338.39 points. The lackluster performance is less an indication of market weakness than a function of reduced volume. Call it the summer doldrums. In the third quarter, only eight auctions comprising 9,541 lots were held, compared with 15 auctions and 14,684 lots in the second quarter of 2014. $28 million worth of wine went on the block in the U.S. during the third quarter of 2014, 40% more than the $20.3 million grossed in the same period last year. However, the average price per lot in the third quarter of 2014 was $2,895, slightly below 2013’s tally of $3,027.

•On-premise traffic trends have started heading in the right direction as we approach the crucial holiday selling season. According to GuestMetrics, traffic in the on-trade segment grew 0.1% in the month through October 5, compared with a 1% decline in the year-to-date. The casual dining area has made significant progress of late, with traffic rising 0.5% in the last four weeks, versus a year-to-date decrease of 0.8%. The lodging segment is also improving, as traffic rose 1.5% in the four weeks compared with a flat year-to-date performance. Work remains in other areas, however. Bars and clubs posted traffic down 1.8% for the four weeks and 2.2% year-to-date, while fine dining met its year-to-date pace with traffic down 1.6% over the last month.

•Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar is set to release Forty-Six Diamonds Cabernet Sauvignon, the latest offering in the restaurant chain’s private label wine series. Created in partnership with Napa-based Ladera Vineyards, Forty-Six Diamonds Cabernet Sauvignon was aged 20 months in 60% new French oak and will be available at Fleming’s starting October 24. Concurrently, Fleming’s has unveiled this year’s Fleming’s 100 lineup, featuring a selection of 100 wines by the glass, including more than 30 wines priced at under $10. Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse—which releases a new private label under its Forty-Six Diamonds brand and updates its Fleming’s 100 list each year—currently operates 66 locations nationwide.

•New Jersey-based marketer Riondo USA has forayed into the spirits category via a new partnership with Dirty Tequila. Created by restaurant and bar owner George Duerr, Dirty Tequila is a blue agave Silver Tequila, infused with cinnamon, pineapple and additional flavors and sweeteners, including agave nectar. The entry is packaged in a 750-ml. beer-style bottle and priced at under $23. Currently available across New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Oklahoma, Dirty Tequila is set to enter 20 new markets next year, according to Riondo USA. The brand joins Riondo USA’s existing wine portfolio, which includes the Riondo Prosecco Spago Nero, Pink Spago Argento, Pinot Grigio Monte Forte and Amarone DOC labels, among others.


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