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

News Briefs for November 16, 2020

November 16, 2020

•Bacardi is reopening its Casa Bacardi Visitor Center in Cataño, Puerto Rico for tours on Fridays and Saturdays. The reopening is accompanied by new health and safety measures to combat the spread of Covid-19 including temperature checks, mask requirements, and reduced group sizes. Acrylic screens have been installed at registration points and at the bar, as have sanitation stations in all visitor areas. The visitor experience includes a visit to the Bacardi Family Museum and a mixology class, among other amenities.

•Chilean winery Frontera, part of the Concha y Toro portfolio, is launching a 3-liter boxed format including Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a red blend next month. To promote the launch, Frontera hosted a virtual acoustic concert with Grammy nominee Raquel Sofía on Facebook Live, and showcased Sofía’s music in conjunction with Frontera wines. Earlier this year, Frontera collaborated with music streaming service Spotify on genre-specific playlists that pair with four different styles of Frontera wine. Frontera, which has U.S. volume of approximately 1.7 million cases, according to Impact Databank, saw U.S. sales climb 9% in the three months through September, Concha y Toro recently reported.

•Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits has appointed Paul Altarez as executive vice president and general manager of Pennsylvania, effective November 23. Altarez has been with the company since 2001 and has held a variety of roles that culminated in his position as vice president and general manager for Michigan. Notably for the Pennsylvania market, in 2011 he served as marketing manager for the east control region; in his new position he will report directly to U.S. control states region president Pat Pokorny. Altarez replaces Kim Scarpone, who was promoted to senior vice president of spirits in Nevada.

•Salem, Oregon-based Willamette Valley Vineyards reported net sales revenue of $6.9 million in the three months ended September 30. The figure is a 2.4% improvement over the same period last year. The company attributed the gains to an increase in direct-to-consumer sales fueled by its wine ambassador program and internet buying channels, which offset lower revenues from the hospitality side. The company’s expenses rose moderately as well, nearing $3 million for the quarter. After expenses Willamette Valley Vineyards logged net income of $897,000, up 5.2%.

•Santa Barbara County-based Fess Parker Winery has promoted Elizabeth Cooper to national sales director. Cooper previously focused on sales in the Midwest and East Coast regions. In her new role, Cooper will oversee the winery’s national sales network, while also providing more direct customer and distributor service. Late actor Fess Parker founded his namesake winery in 1989, and played a key role in building the region’s reputation as a producer of upscale Burgundian varietals.

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