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News Briefs for November 1, 2018

November 1, 2018

•Moët Hennessy USA has launched a consumer-facing pop-up at New York City’s Grand Central Terminal ahead of the holiday season. Organized by Clos 19—Moët Hennessy’s online lifestyle and sales platform—the Holiday Personalization Studio offers consumers the chance to customize and engrave bottles of such Champagne and spirits brands as Veuve Clicquot, Moët & Chandon, Ardbeg, Glenmorangie, and Hennessy. All purchases made at the pop-up are accompanied by complimentary gift-wrap and greeting cards. The Holiday Personalization Studio is set to open on November 2 and will run for eight weeks, ending January 1, 2019.

•Diageo-owned Johnnie Walker has debuted the fifth and final expression in its luxury John Walker & Sons Private Collection range. A blend of malt and grain whiskies aged for a minimum of 28 years, the 28-year-old Midnight Blend was sourced from such distilleries as Strathmillon in Speyside and Caol Ila in Islay. Only 3,888 collectible decanters of the 42.8% abv whisky are available across the globe, retail priced at $750 a 750-ml. The John Walker & Sons Private Collection originally launched in 2014.

•Brockmans Gin is considering a sale of its business, either in whole or in part, having garnered interest from major distillers, Bloomberg reports. Led by CEO Neil Everitt, former CEO of Stock Spirits, the brand is expected to have revenue of about £11 million ($14.2m) this year on 90,000 cases of volume, the report noted, adding that a sale could value Brockmans at roughly £100 million ($129m).

•Vintage Wine Estates has acquired the brand and inventory of San Francisco-based Distillery No. 209. The distillery’s original estate was located in St. Helena, California, and was acquired by Vintage Wine partner and board member Leslie Rudd in 1999. Rudd, who passed away in May, moved the operation to a new facility on San Francisco’s Pier 50, where master distiller Arne Hillesland will continue to produce the brand. The Distillery No. 9 portfolio includes a namesake gin as well as three Barrel Reserve gins and a collection of Kosher-for-Passover spirits.

•Walla Walla, Washington’s Doubleback Winery has opened a new, state-of-the-art winemaking facility. Owned by former NFL player Drew Bledsoe, the 14,000-square-foot space sits on 49 acres, eight of which are planted, primarily to Syrah. The new winery features a gravity-flow set-up, with the fermentation room situated directly above the wine cellar, as well as a tasting room, which is open exclusively to Doubleback mailing list members. While the new facility meets the current production needs of both the Doubleback and Bledsoe Family Winery labels, there’s room for expansion, with total capacity of up to 10,000 cases. Bledsoe founded Doubleback in 2007 with his wife, Maura.

•Santa Rosa, California-based St. Francis Winery & Vineyards has acquired River East, an 80-acre vineyard in the northeastern Russian River Valley. River East is currently planted to Chardonnay, but the site will also be replanted to additional varieties, the company said. In addition to the newly acquired River East, St. Francis owns three other estate vineyards: the 171-acre Lagomarsino Vineyard in the Russian River Valley; the 82-acre Behler Vineyard in Upper Sonoma Valley; and the 130-acre Wild Oak Vineyard in Sonoma Valley. Those estate vineyards, combined with fruit sourced from throughout Sonoma County, support the winemaker’s Sonoma County, Artisan Collection and Reserve wine programs.

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