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News Briefs for February 21, 2020

February 21, 2020

•Today, To Kalon is perhaps the most famous vineyard in the United States, carrying with it a fabled chronicle of its legacy and ownership. Constellation Brands owns the lion’s share of what is considered To Kalon land through its subsidiary, Robert Mondavi Winery. But it also owns trademarks established by Mondavi of “To Kalon,” registered in 1988, and “To Kalon Vineyard,” registered in 1994. Those trademarks have created a tangled web of problems that come down to one question: Is To Kalon a place or a brand? Wine Spectator has the full story.

•Jean-Charles Boisset has opened Oakville Wine Merchant, a new venue offering wines both for on-premise consumption and to take home. Located adjacent to the Oakville Grocery in the same 150-year-old Victorian building housing Boisset’s 1881 Napa Wine History Museum, the space includes 12 Napa Tech dispensing machines serving Boisset’s 1881 Napa brand as well as other labels like Bond, Shafer, Dominus, Dalla Valle, Spottswoode, and Dana. Oakville Wine Merchant will also offer wine flights, as well as bottles for both on- and off-premise consumption.

•Constellation Brands is targeting the non-alcoholic beverage category with a minority investment in Pittsford, New York-based Karma Wellness Water. Closed last year but kept quiet until now, this is the first non-alcoholic beverage investment Constellation has made through its Ventures offshoot. The water comes in a variety of fruit flavors, all topped with a custom-made cap that is pushed down, dispersing vitamins and probiotics into the water. By keeping the volatile ingredients separate, Karma Wellness water can be stored on shelves for up to 18 months without the vitamins and probiotics degrading. In addition to marketing its own products, Karma also licenses the cap technology.

•Illva Saronno CEO Augusto Reina passed away February 19 at the age of 80. Reina is credited with growing Illva Saronno from a family-run and locally focused company into an international wine and spirits player, specializing in Italian liqueurs like Disaronno and Isolabella Sambuca. Last August, Reina stepped back from day-to-day duties at the company. In addition to Disaronno and Isolabella, Illva Saronno’s portfolio includes Tia Maria and Rabarbaro Zucca, and wines like Duca di Salaparuta.

•Australia-based Accolade Wines has appointed Robert Foye as COO. Foye was previously COO at Treasury Wine Estates, before departing early last year due to a breach of internal policies. Prior to that he had served as president of TWE Americas. Accolade, acquired by private equity firm The Carlyle Group for $770 million in 2018, is reportedly looking to sell its U.S. brands, which include Geyser Peak, Atlas Peak, and XYZin. Its portfolio also includes Banrock Station, Hardys, Echo Falls, and Mud House, among others.

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