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

News Briefs for October 27, 2020

October 27, 2020

•Despite the challenge of a resurgence of Covid-19 cases in France, Bordeaux has brought in its 2020 harvest. Leading vintners report the wines are promising, delivering a high note at the end of a chaotic growing season. Both the growing season and the harvest, and now the vinification, have unfolded against the backdrop of the pandemic, with authorities imposing frequently changing restrictions as infection rates ebb and surge. In the Bordeaux region, hand gel and facemasks are ubiquitous, and the wine trade has quickly adapted. Wine Spectator has the full story.

•Russell’s Reserve 2003, Rare Macallan, and newcomers from Compass Box, Jim Beam, Widow Jane, and Rosebank are among the offerings featured in Whisky Advocate’s latest weekly roundup. The magazine’s website has all the details.

•New York-based Vintus has named John Barton as director of strategic retail. Barton was previously senior national wine buyer at Cost Plus World Market, overseeing 31 states and over $200 million in business. He then transitioned to the distributor side, joining Young’s Market in California. As vice president, Fine Wine – Strategic Retail, Barton oversaw revenue growth of more than 50% until his departure earlier this year. Vintus CEO Michael Quinttus said the appointment “deepens our commitment to this critical channel that continues to grow rapidly and is more important than ever for our brands given the challenges of Covid.” Vintus recently relocated from Westchester County to 48 West 38th Street in midtown Manhattan. In addition to modern staff facilities, the new office will host tastings and events for the trade and consumers.

•Avaline, the wine brand cofounded by Cameron Diaz and Katherine Power, has extended its range with a new Rhone red. Composed of Grenache and Syrah, Avaline red retails at $24, and joins a White and Rose in the organic, vegan-friendly brand’s range. Avaline got off to a fast start after its recent launch, with its White and Rose wines selling 10,000 cases in the first three months on the market.

•Korbel has debuted a new marketing campaign called “Make It Gold.” Developed by Louisville, Kentucky-based PriceWeber, Make It Gold “offers an inspirational message that encourages elevating what otherwise might be ordinary moments,” according to Korbel. The push includes photography and video running across broadcast, cable, and digital platforms, and precedes the December launch of a new website for the California sparkling wine brand.

•Niche Imports, part of Marussia Beverages, is now the importer for Finnish vodka Koskenkorva. The 40% abv spirit is distilled from barley in its namesake village in Western Finland. The Koskenkorva distillery is run 100% on bioenergy, primarily provided by barley husks. Koskenkorva vodka will be available across the U.S. and will retail between $20 and $23, depending on the market. It joins Hatozaki Japanese Whiskies, Mozart Chocolate Liqueurs, and Bärenjäger Honey Liqueurs, among others, in Niche’s U.S. portfolio.

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