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

News Briefs for March 23, 2018

March 23, 2018

•China imported $79 million worth of U.S.-made wine last year, according to the Wine Institute, but American vintners are now facing a potential 15% tariff on exports to the country. China says it will impose tariffs on U.S. products like wine, pork, fruit, and steel in retaliation for the U.S. move to impose tariffs on up to $60 billion worth of Chinese imports. China ranks as the fifth-largest export market for U.S. wines, after the European Union ($553 million), Canada ($444m), Hong Kong ($119m), and Japan ($94m). Overall, U.S. wine shipments abroad fell by around 8% last year due to the strong dollar, subsidization of foreign producers and free trade agreements among competitors in key markets. China, for example, has free trade agreements with Chile and Australia.

•Constellation’s The Prisoner Wine Company is extending its lineup with the launch of The Snitch, a new limited offering. Rolling out nationwide, The Snitch is a Napa Valley Chardonnay retailing at $35 a 750-ml. The wine joins The Prisoner Wine Company’s existing range, which is led by its namesake red blend, and also includes the Derange, Blindfold, Saldo, Cuttings, and Thorn labels. Constellation acquired The Prisoner Wine Company from Huneeus Vintners for $285 million in 2016. Impact Databank estimates that the flagship red blend ($47) was up 17.5%, to 165,000 cases in the U.S. last year.

•Pernod Ricard has introduced The Glenlivet Code ($120), a limited edition single malt Scotch released without cask information or tasting notes. Inspired by World War II-era British code breakers, Code is intended to test consumers’ knowledge of single malt whisky. It’s being backed by a digital experience, in which whisky drinkers can scan a code on the back of the bottle with the Shazam app and engage with a hologram of master distiller Alan Winchester, who will challenge them to decode the liquid using four aromas and four flavors as descriptors. Official tasting notes for Glenlivet Code—which is being distributed across 28 global markets—will be revealed at the end of the year.

•Beso Del Sol, known for sangria, is debuting new Sparkling White and Sparkling Rosé wines, both imported from Spain. Retailing at $13 a 750-ml., the new wines are rolling out nationwide. The Sparkling White is 100% Airén with natural peach and mango flavors, while the Rosé is 100% Tempranillo with natural citrus, peach, and mango flavors. Beso Del Sol, an Impact “Hot Brand,” grew 32% to above 200,000 cases last year.

•BevMo has begun testing curbside pickup at two of its Bay Area stores. The initiative will allow customers to order online, then text “PICKUP” to the number on the Curbside Pickup sign when they arrive at the store. A BevMo employee will then walk out to the vehicle with the delivery within minutes, the company says. There is no charge and no minimum purchase for the curbside service. In another recent move, BevMo has crowdsourced the selections for a new collection of exclusive wines, with a 70-person consumer panel providing input on flavor profiles, label designs, and pricing. The company says the panel helped it identify gaps in its existing selection, and it expects to do the same for a new line of spirits in the coming months.

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