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News Briefs for March 3, 2015

March 3, 2015

•Wine industry veteran Steven Spadarotto has been named co-CEO of Francis Ford Coppola Presents, effective March 1. Formerly vice president and general manager of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates’ Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Spadarotto becomes co-CEO with Jay Shoemaker, whom he will succeed as CEO at the end of this year when Shoemaker retires. Spadarotto will oversee Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville, as well as the former Geyser Peak facility that Coppola acquired in 2013, among other responsibilities. His career also includes time as SVP, wine operations for Diageo Chateau & Estate and leadership roles with Kendall-Jackson and Clos Pegase.

•Guarachi Family Wines has released its first single-vineyard Pinot Noir from Sun Chase vineyard in the Sonoma Coast AVA, a property it acquired from CalPERS in 2013. Located in the Petaluma Gap—which recently petitioned the TTB to become its own appellation within Sonoma Coast—Sun Chase is a 248-acre plot planted to 24 acres of Pinot Noir and 18 acres of Chardonnay. Before buying the vineyard, Guarachi sourced grapes from Sun Chase for its Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, and the vineyard continues to supply grapes to other high-end wineries. Guarachi’s inaugural 2013 Sun Chase Pinot Noir retails at $75. Guarachi Family Wines also markets a single-vineyard wine from Gap’s Crown (also in the Petaluma Gap), as well as Beckstoffer Las Piedras Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley.

•Pernod Ricard USA has officially launched the first spring seasonal for Kahlua, a Salted Caramel flavor. Characterized by a salty-sweet profile, the newcomer is said to be formulated to marry well with iced coffee, as well as other cocktail concoctions. Kahlua Salted Caramel is 40-proof and retails at $18 a 750-ml. The new extension comes as Pernod amps up focus on Kahlua in the on-premise. “Much of our current on-premise business is driven by national accounts, specifically the casual dining sub-channel,” says Brian Mequet, Pernod Ricard USA’s vice president of marketing, liqueurs and rum. “We’re doing more recruiting in new important channels such as neighborhood bars.”

•St. Helena-based wine and spirits importer Wilson Daniels will add Champagne Gosset to its portfolio on April 1. The brand includes Brut Champagne Grand Millésime, Extra Brut Champagne Celebris, Extra Brut Rosé Champagne Celebris and Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne Celebris wines retailing between $100-$167 a bottle. Founded in Aÿ in 1584 by Pierre Gosset, the house is said to be the oldest in the Champagne region. In 1993, Champagne Gosset was acquired by the Renaud-Cointreau family, which also owns Cognac Frapin.

•Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Shock Top has announced the return of its Lemon Shandy summer seasonal. Brewed with California lemon peels, Lemon Shandy will begin rolling out this week, kicking off what the company calls an early “unofficial start of summer.” Concurrently, Shock Top has launched a new campaign, titled “72 Degrees and Shock Top,” featuring a cross-country tour of summer-themed events that will travel from California to Boston. Along with Lemon Shandy, Shock Top’s portfolio includes its year-round Belgian White, Honeycrisp Apple Wheat, Raspberry Wheat and Honey Bourbon Wheat, as well as its Pumpkin Wheat and Shockolate Wheat seasonals.

•New York-based spirits group The 86 Company has named Bryan Townsend vice president of sales. Prior to joining The 86 Co., Townsend most recently worked with Cooper Spirits, helping to launch the group’s St-Germain liqueur brand in the U.S. ahead of its 2012 sale to Bacardi. Townsend’s appointment follows a flurry of new hires for The 86 Co., including a new marketing director, Sharon Bronstein, and several full-time brand ambassadors. Launched in 2012 by celebrity mixologists Simon Ford, Jason Kosmas and Dushan Zaric, The 86 Co.’s portfolio includes the Fords gin, Caña Brava rum, Aylesbury Duck vodka and Tequila Cabeza brands. Targeted toward bartenders, each offering is packaged in ergonomic 1-liter and 750-ml. bottles designed for easier handling.

•Joe Martin, the San Francisco businessman who founded St. Francis winery and helped turn California Merlot into a household name, died February 26, at his home in Sonoma Valley, Wine Spectator reports. Martin’s health had been declining since he suffered a stroke in 2012. He was 80.

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