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News Briefs for January 25, 2018

January 25, 2018

•The Winebow Group has expanded its distribution operations into the Oregon market, increasing its national wholesale footprint to 22 states. The importer and distributor is basing its Oregon network out of Portland, where it has a warehouse and office including an education center for seminars and tastings. The Winebow Group’s Oregon business is being overseen by Toni Ketrenos, Oregon state manager; Kathy Byrd, vice president and general manager, Noble Wines; and Erle Martin, executive vice president, Wholesale West. “Considering our proximity to the Washington marketplace and the current retail landscape, in which an increasing share is going to national and regional chains, this was a natural extension for us and one that our supplier partners have encouraged,” said The Winebow Group president and CEO David Townsend. Along with Winebow’s existing Noble Wines operation in Washington and The Henry Wine Group in California, the Oregon entry completes the company’s West Coast footprint.

•Italy’s Col d’Orcia winery, part of the Palm Bay Imports portfolio in the U.S., was the victim of a theft last weekend that included 1,000 bottles of Brunello di Montalcino worth approximately $100,000. Many of the stolen bottles are irreplaceable, according to winery owner Count Francesco Marone Cinzano, including Brunello Riserva 1964, Poggio al Vento Brunello Riserva 1990, 1997 and 1999, and many others. “Some of these bottles are very rare, especially the older vintages such as the 1964,” Cinzano tells SND, adding that the winery has alerted merchants in Italy and around the world to be on the lookout for Col d’Orcia bottles of “suspicious provenance.” The Italian Carabinieri have opened an investigation into the matter.

•California retailer K&L Wine Merchants is mourning the loss of 30-year company veteran Jim Barr, who passed away last month after a 16-month battle with esophageal cancer. He was 69. Remembered by K&L vice president Clyde Beffa, Jr. as the first “wine specialist” hired by the retailer back in 1987, Barr was a passionate lover of Pinot Noir and was known to the K&L team as “The Master” for his voluminous wine knowledge. Barr also made wine from his own vineyard in the Anderson Valley. He is survived by his wife Christina Amara.

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