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

News Briefs for October 4, 2016

October 4, 2016

•Under current law, a wine labeled with an appellation—whether it’s Napa Valley, Finger Lakes or Rocky Knob—must be made with fruit primarily from that appellation (at least 75% in some areas, 85% in others) and be “fully finished” within that state or a neighboring one. But there is an exemption: If you’re an out-of-state winemaker in, say, New York, and make a wine from at least 85% Napa Valley AVA fruit that you purchased and transported to New York, you can call it Napa Valley on the label as long as you only sell it in New York. Proposal 160, now being considered by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), looks to end the exemption.Wine Spectator explores the issue with both supporters and opponents of the pending proposal.

•Beam Suntory is introducing a new Strawberry flavor extension under the Pinnacle vodka brand, which is also getting a franchise-wide packaging makeover. Beam Suntory says Pinnacle’s redesign has a less cluttered look with an updated mountain logo, but maintains the brand’s “playful spirit.” The new Pinnacle Strawberry is 70 proof and retails at about $13 a 750-ml. After a dessert flavor-fueled upswing catapulted Pinnacle to the 2.76 million case mark in 2013, the brand has seen single-digit annual declines, decreasing 2.1% to 2.6 million cases last year, according to Impact Databank. In the year-to-date through August, Pinnacle renewed its progress in control states, growing 2.7%.

•Michael David Winery is extending its fast-growing Freakshow brand with a new red blend this fall. Freakshow Red, which is hitting major markets around the country, is a blend of Syrah, Petite Sirah and Souzao. The newcomer is line priced with the existing Freakshow Cabernet at about $20 a bottle. Freakshow, an Impact “Hot Prospect,” doubled in size to nearly 90,000 cases in the U.S. last year.

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