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News Briefs for July 8, 2020

July 8, 2020

•Spain without good restaurants and bars was once unimaginable. But for several months, that was the reality as the nation locked down during the Covid-19 pandemic, upending life and taking away close to two-thirds of wine sales by value for domestic wineries. To date, the country has experienced one of the highest death counts—more than 28,000—from the virus and more than 250,000 confirmed cases. The impact on Spain’s economy, especially the hospitality sector, has been devastating. As the country slowly begins to unwind its months-long lockdown, wineries and grapegrowers across all regions are strategizing both short-term and long-term plans in an effort to keep their businesses alive. Wine Spectator has a full report.

•Folio Fine Wine Partners will add Argentine wineries Bodega Colomé and Bodega Amalaya to its range, effective August 1. Formerly handled by Hess Family Wine Estates in the U.S., the two brands are owned by Grupo Colomé. The Amalaya range includes Blanco and Rosé ($10), Malbec ($14), and Amalaya Gran Corte Malbec ($20). The Colomé lineup includes Torrontés ($12), Estate Malbec ($25), Auténtico Malbec ($40), 1831 Malbec ($70), and Colomé Altura Máxima ($150). Last week, French luxury group EPI agreed to take a 60% stake in Folio for an undisclosed sum.

•Republic National Distributing Co. (RNDC) has announced a slate of initiatives dedicated to furthering the fight against racial injustice and inequality. They include a $250,000 donation to the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), matching supplier partner Pernod Ricard. In addition, RNDC made a $250,000 donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) Earl Warren Scholarship Fund. The distribution giant is also launching a Black Leadership Advisory Council and a local Mentor Program for Black associates interested in a long-term career with the company, among other moves.

•Sweden-based Purity Distillery is launching Purity Spritz, a flavored spirit intended for use in Spritz cocktails. Purity Spritz uses the distillery’s Signature 34 Edition Organic Vodka as its base and augments it with natural flavors of bergamot, grapefruit, and orange. Consumers may combine it with their choice of sparkling wine to make a full Spritz cocktail. Signature 34 takes its name from distilling the heart of the vodka 34 times during production. Now in distribution, Purity Spritz is at 30% abv and retails for $25 a 750-ml. Purity Distillery is family-owned and produces three vodkas and three gins.

•Sonoma-based Peter Michael Winery has promoted Stuart Bockman to general manager. Bockman has been the winery’s CFO for the last 14 years and previously held executive roles with Beringer and the Hess Collection, among others. As general manager, he will lead the winery’s daily operations on behalf of Paul and Emily Michael, who are based in the U.K. Bockman replaces Tom Eakin, who is retiring after also serving 14 years. The winery has three estates in California: Knights Valley and Seaview in Sonoma and Oakville in Napa Valley.

•Russell Joy has been named general manager of Oakville-based Napa Wine Company. Joy was most recently vice president and director of strategy-California for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, overseeing Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Patz & Hall, and Conn Creek wineries. Owned by the Pelissa family, which organically farms 635 acres of Napa Valley vineyards, Napa Wine Company’s brands include Ghost Block Estate Wines, Oakville Winery and Elizabeth Rose.

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