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News Briefs for April 3, 2018

April 3, 2018

•Moët Hennessy’s Glenmorangie has debuted Grand Vintage Malt 1989, the second release from its limited edition Bond House No. 1 Vintage collection. The 27-year-old, chill-filtered single malt is finished in various types of casks, and is the first offering from Glenmorangie to be matured in part in ex-Côte-Rôtie wine casks from the northern Rhône. Available at select retail stores, travel retail accounts, and Glenmorangie’s visitor center, Grand Vintage Malt 1989 (43% abv) is priced at $665 a 750-ml. Glenmorangie unveiled its Bond House No. 1 lineup early last year, launching Grand Vintage Malt 1990 ($630) as the series’ inaugural release.

•Hotaling & Co., formerly Anchor Distilling Co., has taken an equity stake in Denizen rum for an undisclosed amount. Denizen’s line includes an aged white rum ($20 a 750-ml.) at 40% abv and a Merchant’s Reserve offering ($30) at 43% abv, both sourced from multiple Caribbean distillers. Hotaling & Co. says it “will play an active role alongside Nicholas Pelis, Denizen’s founder, on day-to-day brand management, distribution, and future line extensions,” looking ahead.

•Wilson Daniels Wholesale will enter its third market this fall. In October, the distributor will begin operations in Connecticut, which will join New York and New Jersey in the Wilson Daniels Wholesale footprint. The wholesale unit—which launched in 2015 in a bid to expand Wilson Daniels’ presence in the East Coast fine wine market—is targeting revenues of about $40 million this year, up from $20 million in 2016. Wilson Daniels is a subsidiary of California-based Young’s Holdings, Inc., owned by the Underwood family.

•Pete Kight, the owner of Australia’s Torbreck winery, has acquired Escarpment, located in the Martinborough region of New Zealand’s North Island. Escarpment was founded in 1999 by the Kirby family and winemaker Larry McKenna, who is known to many as the godfather of New Zealand Pinot Noir. McKenna will continue on as winemaker. Meanwhile, on New Zealand’s South Island, two local vintners, Ben Glover of Glover Family Vineyards and Rhyan Wardman, have purchased Marlborough’s Seresin winery. The sale includes 7 acres of organically farmed Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, and Pinot Noir, and a winery. Wine Spectator has more on these two New Zealand winery deals.

•David Driscoll, longtime spirits buyer at California retailer K&L Wine Merchants, has left the company and the industry. Driscoll was recruited by a Silicon Valley healthcare startup focused on curing cancer. “David was offered an opportunity to take his passion for writing outside the drinks business and into a realm that affects so many people so deeply,” K&L said. Driscoll’s work in his Spirits Journal and On the Trail blogs became renowned among drinks aficionados and the industry at large. “His contributions to the wine and spirits industry discussion will be greatly missed,” the company added.

•Robert Mondavi Winery has partnered with the James Beard Foundation to offer a new $50,000 wine education scholarship program. Over the next five years, the James Beard Foundation Robert Mondavi Memorial Scholarship will award $10,000 annually to an individual seeking to further his or her wine education. Eligible U.S. candidates must be 21 or older, have a high school diploma or GED, and enroll in a beverage, wine studies, or hospitality management program or Master Sommelier program at an accredited institution. In addition to covering tuition fees, the scholarship will grant recipients access to experiential learning opportunities at Robert Mondavi’s Napa winery.

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