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News Briefs for October 31, 2018

October 31, 2018

•California vintners surveyed by the Wine Institute are reporting a strong 2018 wine grape harvest in both quality and quantity, in line with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s August forecast of 4.1 million tons, up 2% from 2017 and above the historical average of 3.9 million tons.

Vintners said the 2018 harvest began anywhere from 10 days to three weeks later than in 2017, and was characterized by consistent growing conditions and cooler temperatures. Producers in Napa and Sonoma in particular noted that the moderate conditions led to both higher yields and quality for this year’s harvest. According to Impact Databank, California table wine volume in the U.S. was up 1% to 205 million 9-liter cases last year, representing about 71% of the total table wine market by volume.

•M.S. Walker is launching two new limited-release blended Scotch whiskies from Grand MacNish. The newcomers, which mark the first entries in Grand MacNish’s Double Matured Cask Series, include a 13-year-old Rum Cask Finish and a 15-year-old Sherry Cask Finish, retailing at $45 and $55 a 750-ml., respectively. Both new whiskies were matured in American oak Bourbon barrels before receiving one-year cask finishes, and are bottled at 43% abv.

•Austin, Texas-based Milestone Brands has named Brian Bousley as executive vice president and Sean Penn as vice president of sales and commercial planning, effective immediately. Bousley, who was previously president and COO of Pabst Brewing, will focus on business development, as the Milestone portfolio continues to expand its distribution footprint. Penn was most recently Diageo’s vice president of sales for the central region. At Milestone, he’ll oversee strategic sales development for the company’s full portfolio, which includes Dulce Vida Spirits, American Born Whiskey, American Born Moonshine, and Naranja Orange Liqueur. Milestone projects that its range will surpass 130,000 cases by the end of next year, with Dulce Vida Tequila making up about half the total.

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