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News Briefs for January 22, 2020

January 22, 2020

•Palm Bay International has announced the addition of High Heaven Vintners to its portfolio. High Heaven is a new brand born of a collaboration between Palm Bay president and CEO Marc Taub and Mark Zirkle, president of Selah, Washington-based Zirkle Fruit. It sources grapes from five Zirkle vineyards in the Columbia Valley AVA to create an assortment of 100%-estate grown and bottled wines including Roaming Elk Red Blend, Sea of Tranquility Merlot, and Majestic Pines Cabernet Sauvignon (all $18 a 750-ml.), as well as Starshower Riesling and Cloud Mountain Chardonnay (both $15). The entire range is now rolling out nationwide.

•Daniel and Florence Cathiard, the owners of Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte in Bordeaux, are branching out to California’s Napa Valley. The couple has purchased the Flora Springs estate, which straddles the Rutherford and St. Helena AVAs, at the base of the Mayacamas mountain range. The sale price was not disclosed, but the deal includes 280 acres (58 planted to vines) and the winery. Flora Spring’s owners, the Komes and Garvey families, will retain the brand and tasting room in St. Helena. Wine Spectator has the full story.

•With Australia’s bush fires continuing to burn, one of the country’s signature wine brands is donating to relief efforts. Yellow Tail has pledged $1 million to the cause. The brand’s donation will be split evenly between the WWF Australian Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund to rebuild habitats and help recovering animals, and Jose Andres World Central Kitchen, which has a team on the ground in Australia serving meals to first responders and families displaced by the wildfires.

•Riunite will launch a new line of canned sangrias this spring. Rolling out nationwide in April, the new range will include red and white sangrias sold in 4-packs of 250-ml. cans, which will retail at $10. Made with grapes sourced from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, Riunite’s new sangrias are at 7% abv. After a half-century in the Banfi Vintners portfolio, Riunite moved to Frederick Wildman & Sons in the U.S. last summer.

•New York-based importer and distributor Romano Brands Fine Wines has been named the exclusive U.S. importer for three Italian wine brands effective March 1: Cerulli Spinozzi of Abruzzo, I Saltari of Veneto, and Montalbano Bio of Friuli. The three labels were previously handled by Banfi Vintners in the U.S. Romano Brands’ range includes wines from Piedmont, Veneto, Tuscany, Puglia, and Campania.

•Piper-Heidsieck is returning as the exclusive Champagne brand of the Oscars, to be held February 9 in Los Angeles.Piper is paying tribute to cinema in the Roaring Twenties with a limited-edition magnum to be served at this year’s event, which marks the sixth consecutive year the brand has partnered with the Academy Awards. The bottle includes a replica of the label used on Piper’s signature Cuvée Brut during the Prohibition era. Piper-Heidsieck is part of the Terlato Wines portfolio in the U.S.

•Jeff Roth has been named executive vice president of mid-Atlantic distributor Bacchus Importers Ltd. Roth was most recently vice president, business development, at Bacchus’ parent company Breakthru Beverage Group, which acquired it in 2017. Bruce Gearhart, who led Bacchus for 15 years, retired this month. Focused on fine wine and craft spirits, Bacchus operates in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

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