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News Briefs for April 20, 2015

April 20, 2015

•Chile’s Viña Montes is introducing a new “Spring Harvest” Sauvignon Blanc, which is debuting in the market about 60 days earlier than is typical for the varietal. Produced from Leyda Valley grapes picked one month early in February of this year, Montes Spring Harvest Sauvignon Blanc is made using specific techniques intended to enable an earlier release while retaining quality—such as significantly lower yields, additional leaf plucking, early morning picking and time in the tank with more solids in suspension, which results in a fuller-bodied wine. Retailing at $15 a bottle, Spring Harvest is coming to the U.S. in an allocation of 2,000 cases. Montes’ wines are handled by Guarachi Wine Partners in the U.S.

•Sonoma-based St. Francis Winery, part of the Kobrand portfolio, is launching a new line of Reserve wines targeted to the on-premise. St. Francis’ new Reserve tier includes a Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel, Sonoma Valley Merlot and Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, all strategically priced within the $90-$110 range on wine lists. St. Francis president and CEO Christopher Silva told SND he sees opportunity for upmarket expansion at that price level for wine labels that consumers know and trust. “If you have good brand equity and consumers trust the house, a Reserve tier can resonate,” he said. In other company news, St. Francis has added a screwcap-topped Sauvignon Blanc to its Sonoma County series of wines, with about 6,000 cases made for the first vintage. The winery’s Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc retails around $17 and is positioned at $12-$13 by-the-glass on-premise. St. Francis’ Sonoma County tier reds retail at around $20.

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