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

News Briefs for January 21, 2020

January 21, 2020

•In October 2017, as wildfires burned 245,000 acres and damaged nearly a dozen wineries across Northern California, many vintners wondered what would become of their grapes still hanging on the vines, as well as their wines fermenting in inaccessible cellars. As the 2017 wines are being released, the extent of the damage is coming into focus. Sonoma-based wine company Vintage Wine Estates (VWE) and Kunde Family, a family-owned winery in Sonoma Valley, are suing their insurance companies for refusing to cover wines damaged by smoke from the fires. They argue that smoke taint destroyed the marketability of some of their wines, resulting in substantial losses that should be covered under their respective insurance policies. Wine Spectator has the full story.

•The number of visitors to Ireland’s distilleries rose by 10.2% last year to 1.02 million, cresting the million-visitor mark for the first time, according to the Irish Whiskey Association and Drinks Ireland. North America was the top market of origin, accounting for 34% of the total, followed by Ireland (13%), the U.K. (12%), Germany (10%), and France (7%). Most of last year’s growth was due to the opening of four new distillery visitor centers—at Clonakilty, Powerscourt, Dublin Liberties, and Roe & Co. Ireland currently has 17 distillery visitor centers in operation across the country, with more planned to open this year.

•Mid-Atlantic supermarket chain Giant Food is launching a new private label wine lineup at 57 stores in the Virginia market. The new range, Artie, includes a South African Chardonnay, Australian Cabernet Sauvignon, Italian Pinot Grigio, and French Sauvignon Blanc. The Artie wines sport playful label designs nodding to their countries of origin and retail at $7-$10 a 750-ml. Giant has 163 locations across Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia.

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