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News Briefs for May 1, 2015

May 1, 2015

•St. Helena-based Wilson Daniels has named Rocco Lombardo president, effective June 1. Lombardo will succeed Jack Daniels in the post, and will split time between St. Helena and Wilson Daniels’ soon-to-be established New York office. A 20-year drinks industry veteran, Lombardo was most recently president of Frederick Wildman & Sons. Prior to that he held a series of roles of increasing responsibility with Wildman, having joined the company in 1995. As a founding partner and vice chairman of Wilson Daniels—part of the Young’s Holdings Inc.—Jack Daniels will continue to play an integral role in strategy, brand planning and supplier relations, the company said.

•Banfi Vintners and Excelsior Wines—Banfi’s joint venture with Concha y Toro—have expanded their partnership with Republic National Distributing Co. (RNDC) with the addition of four new markets. Under an exclusive five-year agreement, RNDC will begin handling the Banfi and Excelsior portfolios in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma, effective June 1. RNDC already represents both portfolios throughout Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C., Indiana, New Mexico, Nebraska and North Dakota.

•The Hess Collection is adding to its on-premise focused Shirtail label with the 2013 Hess Shirtail Ranches Cabernet Sauvignon. The fruit-forward blend, sourced primarily from the Red Hills district in Lake County, is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon with some Malbec and has been aged in mostly neutral French and American oak for 15 months. It’s packaged in a screw-cap bottle and is priced for wine lists in the $35-$40 range. It joins Hess Shirtail Creek Chardonnay, an unoaked vineyard-designated Monterey Chardonnay also available exclusively in the on-premise.

•TV personality Giuliana Rancic is extending her Xo, G wine range with a new Moscato entry. Xo, G’s California Moscato will be available starting this spring, priced in line with the lineup’s existing Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir and Rosé entries at around $10. The brand, which is targeted toward female consumers, features four individually packaged and pre-filled glasses, which are stacked together to form a 750-ml. bottle. Launched by Rancic late last year, Xo, G is currently available at select Walmart stores nationwide.

•A new seafood restaurant called C Chicago, from the owners of the Windy City’s popular steakhouse Chicago Cut, has just opened in the city’s River North neighborhood. Partners David Flom and Matt Moore hired Bill Montagne, formerly the sous chef at Le Bernardin in New York, to run the kitchen. The design of the light and airy space, highlighted by a 2,600-gallon aquarium, was conceived by Chicago architect Mark Knauer. The iPad wine list offers 46 wines by the glass and 200 selections by the bottle, topped by the 2009 Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon at $450 a 750 ml. The new venue has a spirits program, highlighted by such names as Pappy Van Winkle 23-year-old Family Reserve Bourbon at $250 per 2-ounce pour and The Macallan 30-year-old single malt Scotch at $230 a pour.

•Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) has promoted Mark Merrion to the newly created role of senior vice president of sales in the U.S., effective immediately. Merrion joined TWE in September 2012 as vice president of sales for the West division. Prior to joining the company, he served in senior sales roles at Wilson Daniels Ltd. and Diageo Chateau & Estate, where he managed sales teams across 33 states.

•Anheuser-Busch InBev shareholders have approved Olivier Goudet as the brewing giant’s next chairman. Replacing Kees Storm, Goudet is the CEO of Germany’s JAB Holding Co., whose portfolio includes interests in Peet’s Coffee & Tea and cosmetics producer Coty Inc., among others. Goudet is expected to serve a four-year term as chairman of the world’s largest brewer.

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