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News Briefs for May 13, 2016

May 13, 2016

•The primary lawsuit against Tito’s Handmade Vodka producer Fifth Generation Inc. has been dismissed, according to BevLaw.com, which provided a copy of the dismissal filing on its website. First filed in 2014, Hofmann v. Fifth Dimension, Inc. challenged the Austin, Texas-based company’s use of the term “Handmade” in Tito’s label, and was soon joined by a second similar suit, Cabrera v. Fifth Generation, Inc. Late last month, both parties filed joint motions to dismiss their cases, with Judge Miller of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California approving the joint motions on May 3. As a result, Tito’s is expected to preserve its current labeling. An Impact “Hot Brand,” Tito’s Handmade Vodka was up 40.5%, to nearly 2.8 million cases, in the U.S., according to Impact Databank.

•Terroir Life Wine Group has sold its Sandhi Wines range for an undisclosed sum. Established by Terroir Life founder Charles Banks, sommelier Rajat Parr and winemaker Sashi Moorman in 2009, Sandhi is being acquired by Parr and Moorman along with Texas venture capitalist Steve Webster. The brand joins Moorman and Parr’s existing estate programs, which include California’s Domaine de la Côte and Evening Land’s Seven Springs Vineyard in Oregon. Sandhi, based in California’s Santa Rita Hills AVA, specializes in premium Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with a portfolio ranging from $38-$90 a 750-ml. at retail. The brand’s current 2015 vintage, launched earlier this year, will mark the final Sandhi wines released in partnership with Terroir Life.

•Disaronno International is introducing classic Italian amaro Zucca Rabarbaro to the U.S. market this spring. Made from Chinese rhubarb and natural herbs, Zucca Rabarbaro (30% abv) is based on a recipe from 1845 and geared toward use in cocktails. Zucca Rabarbaro will be available nationwide in limited quantities on- and off-premise at about $30 a 750-ml. New Jersey-based Disaronno International is the U.S. subsidiary of Illva Saronno, with a portfolio that includes Disaronno, Tia Maria and Disaronno Riserva.

•Giacomo Rallo, the founder of Sicily’s Donnafugata and an early leader in the push for premium-quality wine production in the region, died from a heart attack on the morning of May 10. He was 79. Wine Spectator has more on Rallo’s life and career.

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