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News Briefs for April 19, 2016

April 19, 2016

•Australian wine exports to the U.S. increased 4% by value in the 12 months through the end of March 2016 to about $337 million, according to the Wine Australia trade group. Export volume to the U.S. decreased 3% during that period to 161 million liters, which resulted in the average value of Australian wine rising 7% to $2.10 a liter. The average value of Australian bottled wine rose 12% to $2.87 a liter, the highest level since 2010. Australian wines priced at about $7.70 (A$10) a liter grew 20% to $24.5 million. The top five U.S. markets for Australian wine exports include California (+5% in value to $100.3 million), New York (+32% to $45.2 million), Florida (+15% to $32.2 million), Texas (+9% to $20.7 million) and Massachusetts (+37% to $15.3 million).

•St. Louis-based spirits marketer Luxco has extended its Rebel Yell Bourbon brand with the launch of two new flavors—Ginger Whiskey and Root Beer Whiskey. The newest 70-proof offerings (both about $17-$20) will be available nationwide beginning this month and join Honey, Cherry, Bourbon, Small Batch Reserve, Small Batch Rye and American Whiskey expressions in the brand’s portfolio. Last spring, Luxco unveiled a full refresh on the brand, including a redesigned bottle with a heavier base, rounder shoulders, updated label and cork closure. Rebel Yell was up 27.8% in NABCA channels during the 12 months through February.

•Bordeaux’s Les Vignobles André Lurton has released its first wines created in collaboration with oenologist Michel Rolland. Rolland assisted in blending the 2012 vintage of Les Vignobles André Lurton’s Château Bonnet Red ($15), Château La Louvière Red ($75) and Château Couhins-Lurton Red ($60), all three of which are currently available in the U.S. Rolland is set to take on more responsibilities in upcoming vintages, working closely with Lurton wine director Vincent Cruege to oversee vintage management, blending, aging and bottling. Les Vignobles André Lurton, which manages over 600 hectares of vineyards across six châteaux in the Entre-Deux-Mers, Pessac-Léognan and Lussac-Saint-Émilion appellations, is handled in the U.S. by Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits.

•New York City’s Wilson Daniels Wholesale has added California-based Frank Family Vineyards to its distribution portfolio. Effective earlier this month, Wilson Daniels Wholesale began serving as the exclusive distributor for the Frank Family portfolio in New York, handling the winery’s Napa Valley Chardonnay ($35 a 750-ml.), Pinot Noir ($35), Petite Sirah ($35), Zinfandel ($37) and Cabernet Sauvignon ($50). Established by California-based Wilson Daniels late last year, Wilson Daniels Wholesale is a stand-alone East Coast offshoot specializing in distributing family-owned wine and spirits brands throughout New York and New Jersey.

•Florida-based sales and marketing group Espiritus LLC has acquired Kentucky’s Corner Creek Distillery Co. for an undisclosed sum. Established in 1998, Corner Creek is known for its Corner Creek Reserve Bourbon ($32), an 88-proof offering made with a blend of whiskies up to eight years old and aged in new American oak for a minimum of four years. Corner Creek co-founders Ted Kraut and Eliot Levin will remain active with the business, with Kraut serving as a consultant and Levin set to remain on board as a shareholder and work closely with the Espiritus team. Founded earlier this year by industry veteran Jay Maltby, Espiritus also markets Blue Nectar Tequila, The Lost Distillery Scottish Whiskey Company, Purus Organic Wheat Italian vodka and Virginia Distillery Company Highland malt whiskey.

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