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News Briefs for March 19, 2019

March 19, 2019

•A Glenlivet 50-year-old, a number of new whiskies from Japan and France, and two bottled-in-bond Bourbons are among the bottlings profiled in Whisky Advocate’s latest whiskey roundup. The magazine’s website has all the details.

•French President Emmanuel Macron wants to eliminate the weed killer glyphosate from France within three years, and he is encouraging winemakers, in particular, to take the lead. Speaking at the Paris Agricultural Show February 23, Macron said, “I believe we can create the first wine region in the world without glyphosate.” That’s a bold statement considering how widespread the herbicide is in modern farming. And it comes as the chemical and wine are once again in the news together. A recent study by an American nonprofit advocacy group found traces of glyphosate in beer, wine, and cider. Although the levels were far, far below all U.S. and E.U. food-safety standards, the test results show the pervasiveness of glyphosate and have added to consumer concerns. Wine Spectator has the full story.

•Santa Rosa, California-based Vintage Wine Estates has purchased Laetitia Vineyard & Winery in California’s Arroyo Grande AVA. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. The acquisition includes over 680 vineyard acres with 287 currently planted, plus a production facility, the winery’s existing inventory, and a tasting room with a guesthouse. The winery produces around 35,000 cases a year and its releases range from $25-$60. Laetitia is known for its Pinot Noir and méthode Champenoise sparkling wines.

•Sonoma County winemaker Kenwood Vineyards has added to its small-lot, single vineyard releases with the 2016 Sonoma Coast “The Barn” Pinot Noir, bottled in August 2018 and introduced this month. Only 200 cases of The Barn ($80), which is 14.5% abv, were produced, and it’s available only to wine club members and through DTC. The grapes are sourced from the Amaral Vineyard near the Sonoma coast. The name and label design pay homage the Pagani family barn, which was built by the Kenwood property’s former proprietors in 1906 and currently houses the Kenwood tasting room. Kenwood is part of the Pernod Ricard portfolio.

•E-commerce drinks platform Thirstie is partnering with Drinkworks—a joint venture between AB InBev and Keurig Dr Pepper—to create a new e-commerce experience for the Drinkworks portfolio. The move will allow visitors to the Drinkworks website to purchase alcohol directly from the site without redirecting to a third-party point of sale. Thirstie says the platform will give Drinkworks access to over 2,000 data points on every transaction. Thirstie has also developed e-commerce platforms for Moët Hennessy’s Clos19 and Beam Suntory’s Maker’s Mark. Meanwhile, Thirstie has closed a $7 million Series A financing round with Queens Court Capital, including former top executives from Coach, Citibank, and Credit Suisse.

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