Exclusive news and research on the wine, spirits and beer business

News Briefs for April 11, 2016

April 11, 2016

•Diageo chairman Franz Humer is preparing to step down. Humer has chaired the world’s largest spirits marketer for eight years, following his initial appointment as a non-executive director in 2005. London’s Sunday Times named SABMiller and Rio Tinto chairman Jan du Plessis, Royal Mail chairman Peter Long and former Marks & Spencer CEO Marc Bolland as potential successors, with the leading internal candidate thought to be board member Lord Mervyn Davies. Humer is expected to remain in his post until a replacement is named. Diageo’s search for a new chairman comes as the drinks giant looks to step up growth across its global business. Sales were up 1.8% organically in the six months through June, but down 5% on a reported basis. In the crucial U.S. market, Diageo’s volume declined 2% during the period, although top brands Smirnoff and Captain Morgan showed improved trends.

•Argentina’s Familia Zuccardi has opened a new 80,000-case winery in the Uco Valley region of Mendoza. The new facility will produce various wines from the Zuccardi estate, including Q, Tito, Emma, Concreto, Zeta, Aluvional and Zuccardi Finca. Zuccardi’s wines are handled in the U.S. by Illinois-based Winesellers Ltd. According to Impact Databank, bottled Argentine wine shipments to the U.S. grew 4% to nearly 6 million cases last year.

•Mumm Champagne is introducing a new lightweight bottle design this month in the U.S. market. Created in collaboration with designer Ross Lovegrove, the new bottle doesn’t have a front label—a move that brand-owner Pernod Pernod says is a first for a premium Champagne brand. Instead, the Mumm signature is screened directly onto the glass in gold lettering. The bottle also sports an unusually long, slender neck and a reinterpretation of Mumm’s traditional red sash, which is laser-cut into the glass.

•Washington state’s Milbrandt Vineyards has forged a partnership with Seattle area marketing agency DrinkSpace. Under the deal, DrinkSpace will support Milbrandt’s consumer growth strategies and help strengthen its distributor relationships. Established last year, DrinkSpace is led by wine industry veteran Thomas Vogele, marketing executive Steve Reed and national sales manager Chris Zehner. The group specializes in providing sales and marketing direction for boutique drinks producers. Milbrandt produces a variety of wines ranging from $13 to $55 within Washington’s Ancient Lakes of the Colmbia Valley and Wahluke Slope AVAs.

•Napa winery Ca’ Momi has forayed into spirits with the launch of a new Ca’ Momi vodka. Made from premium Napa wine grapes, Ca’ Momi vodka is triple distilled and minimally filtered. The small-batch offering is priced at $50 a 750-ml. Ca’ Momi told SND the upscale vodka will be distributed nationally alongside its wines.

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