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News Briefs for December 19, 2022

December 19, 2022

•The Wonderful Company, owner of Fiji Water and POM Wonderful, among other brands, has purchased Napa’s Robert Sinskey Vineyards for just over $26 million. The deal closed last month and, following its completion, the property was leased back to the Sinskeys, who will continue to run the vineyards and the company’s tasting room. In addition to Robert Sinskey Vineyards, the Wonderful Company owns Justin Vineyards and Winery and Landmark Wines, among other wine and wine-related holdings, like Wonderful Nurseries (formerly Vintage Nurseries) and Mercier California, providers of grape rootstock.

•Old Forester 117 Series: Extra Extra Old, Orphan Barrel Muckety-Muck 26 year old, and newcomers from Booker’s and Waterford are among the offerings featured in Whisky Advocate’s latest weekly roundup. The magazine’s website has all the details.

•Darden Restaurants saw net sales grow 9.4% to $2.5 billion in its fiscal second quarter ended November 27. Growth was driven by its Olive Garden brand, which posted a 7.6% same-store increase and accounts for almost half the group’s total revenues. Second-largest brand LongHorn Steakhouse was up 7.3%. Darden CEO Rick Cardenas noted that the company’s sales recently surpassed $10 billion on a trailing 12-month basis for the first time in its history. After the strong performance Darden raised its full-year revenue guidance slightly to a range of $10.3 billion to $10.45 billion. Darden’s SVP of marketing for the specialty restaurant group Helen Mackey addressed this fall’s Impact Seminar.

•Bogle Family Wine Collection has appointed Dan Grunbeck as vice president of sales. Grunbeck will be responsible for leading the sales team; developing new placement opportunities for the Bogle Family Vineyards, Twenty Acres by Bogle, Juggernaut and Phantom brands; and managing distribution partners. Grunbeck’s 30-year industry career includes 13 years with Young’s Market, where he helped sell Bogle wines in the West. With volume of 2.7 million cases last year, Bogle ranked as the 18th-largest wine marketer nationally, according to Impact Databank.

•Former WSWA president and CEO Juanita Duggan passed away December 13 at her home in the Washington D.C. area. She served as the WSWA’s first female president and CEO from 1998 to 2006. A passionate policy advocate for family-owned wine and spirits companies, Duggan spent decades as a policy expert in the Senate, the White House, and the private sector. She was a four-time CEO and leader of highly regulated industry trade associations, and most recently was the founder of Clarifyd LLC, a firm serving clients and boards navigating complex policy, political, regulatory, reputation, compliance, and communications challenges.

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