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News Briefs for August 6, 2020

August 6, 2020

•Ste. Michelle Wine Estates has launched H3, formerly part of Columbia Crest, as a standalone brand. Named for Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills AVA, H3 ($14 a 750-ml.) includes a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Red Blend, and Sauvignon Blanc, and is now adding a Rosé that’s a blend of Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The relaunch also includes new packaging featuring winged horse imagery. Ste. Michelle president and CEO Jim Mortensen says the revamped H3 is well-positioned for growth with both Gen X and Millennial consumers.

•Napa Valley’s Lede Family Wines has named Tony Baldini president and COO. Baldini joins the winery after serving for nearly a decade at Hahn Family Wines, most recently as president and CEO. In his new role at Lede Family Wines, Baldini will oversee the winery’s two labels: Stags Leap District-based Cliff Lede Vineyards and Anderson Valley-based FEL Wines.

•Milla Handley, one of Anderson Valley’s wine pioneers and the founder of Handley Cellars, died July 25 from complications due to Covid-19. She was 68. When Handley founded her winery in 1982, the same year Anderson Valley was granted AVA status, there were just six wineries and less than 600 acres planted. She quickly became a pillar of the community. Handley stepped back from her winemaking duties in 2017, handing the reins to long-time co-winemaker, Randy Schock. Handley’s daughter, Lulu McClellan, took over the role of president and national sales manager for the 12,000-case winery in 2015. Wine Spectator has more on Handley’s life and career.

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