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

News Briefs for September 10, 2019

September 10, 2019

•Bacardi will donate $1 million in cash and other assistance to disaster relief and recovery efforts following Hurricane Dorian’s devastation of the Bahamas. The donation will fund immediate and long-term assistance to local relief agencies. Bacardi has also organized an employee drive to collect much-needed items for those affected by the storm. The Bahamas served as a home for Bacardi beginning in the 1960s when the company moved there after Cuban revolutionary government forces confiscated its assets in Cuba. “We hope in a small way to contribute to the rebuilding of this great country in the face of this tragedy just as the Bahamas helped Bacardi rebuild nearly 60 years ago,” said chairman Facundo Bacardi.

•Winegrowers in the Walla Walla Valley appellation in southern Washington state, an AVA with the second-highest concentration of vineyards and wineries in the state, have made an unpleasant discovery: Some have found phylloxera, the vine-sucking louse that nearly wiped out the vineyards of Europe a century ago, attacking the roots of their vines. Wine Spectator has a full report.

•Kentucky’s Bardstown Bourbon Company, minority owned by Constellation Brands, has opened its new visitors center to the public, inviting guests to taste their way through the distilling process. Bardstown will offer two group tour experiences: “The Main Event,” which lasts an hour, and “Bardstown Bourbon Company’s Best,” a more in-depth 90-minute tour led by master distiller Steve Nally. In addition to tours, guests can also visit Bardstown’s tasting bar, located in a nearby rickhouse. The new visitors center is the second tourism facility located at Bardstown, following the company’s Bottle & Bond Kitchen and Bar.

•Ste. Michelle Wine Estates has promoted Asia/Pacific division manager David Andrews to the newly created post of vice president of Antinori USA. Moving forward, Andrews will lead a dedicated Antinori sales team, with the aim of meeting strategic sales goals for the Antinori wine portfolio, as well as other luxury wines under Ste. Michelle’s umbrella. Earlier this year, Woodinville, Washington-based Ste. Michelle signed a new five-year distribution agreement with Italy’s Marchesi Antinori.

•California-based O’Neill Vintners & Distillers has tapped Marty Spate as vice president of winemaking and winegrowing. Spate most recently served as the lead winemaker and director of masstige winemaking at Treasury Wine Estates. In his new post, Spate will oversee O’Neill’s 7-million-case production. He assumes the role from Mark Rasmussen, who will stay on at O’Neill in a limited, semi-retired role.

•Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits (SGWS) has promoted Soren Sorensen to vice president and general manager, Minnesota. In the role, Sorensen will be responsible for driving commercial execution and will report to Scott Westerman, executive vice president and general manager, North Central Sub-Region. Sorensen joined SGWS in 2010 as a sales brand manager and has moved up through roles of increasing responsibility, most recently holding the position vice president, sales, Minnesota. Prior to Southern Glazer’s, he served with Wirtz Beverage Group.

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