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News Briefs for January 12, 2015

January 12, 2015

•Dutch beverage and hospitality group Marussia Beverages BV has acquired New Jersey-based Niche Import Co. for an undisclosed sum. The deal, which went into effect January 1, provides Marussia with a U.S. import and distribution platform for its wine and spirits stable, including its Mamont vodka, Mezan Caribbean rum and Chateau Mukhrani Georgian wine brands. Established in 1992, Niche Import Co. specializes in importing a variety of international wines and spirits, including Armagnac, fruit brandy, liqueurs and cider, as well as wines from Austria and Germany, among other offerings. Marussia Beverages is an offshoot of privately owned Swedish group Haydn Holding AB, and currently operates distribution networks throughout the U.K., France, Russia, Georgia and Ukraine.

•Sonoma-based Three Sticks Wines has named Bob Cabral director of winemaking. Cabral comes to Three Sticks from Healdsburg’s Williams Selyem, where he specialized in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. He has also held previous winemaking roles with DeLoach, Kunde, Alderbrook and Hartford Court. Concurrently, Three Sticks has appointed Ryan Prichard, former assistant winemaker for Sonoma’s Medlock Ames, to the role of associate winemaker. Both Cabral and Prichard will work in partnership with Three Sticks winemaker emeritus Don Van Staaveren, who will continue to craft the winery’s Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Blanc and Casteñada labels. Three Sticks Wines was founded in 2002 by Bill Price, who also operates Classic Wines and Price Family Vineyards and has an ownership interest in The Vincraft Group.

•TGIC Importers, based in Los Angeles, has announced a corporate name-change to Guarachi Wine Partners. The switch, coinciding with the company’s 30th anniversary, “connects our future with our heritage,” said founder and CEO Alex Guarachi, who originally launched his business out of a garage in Northern California. Guarachi Wine Partners represents Bodega Norton, Kaiken, Lea, Montes, Pascual Toso, Santa Ema and Tensley Wines, and also markets proprietary brands such as Black Ink, Guarachi Family Wines, Nobilissima and Tenshən. The company claims to be the top importer of South American wines under $10, according to Nielsen.

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