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News Briefs for January 6, 2023

January 6, 2023

•Winesellers Ltd has been named the exclusive U.S. importer of Bodegas Volver, the Spanish grower and producer of fine wines from regions including La Mancha, Alicante, Almansa, and Jumilla. Volver’s fourth-generation viticulturist Rafael Cañizares focuses on restoring forgotten vineyards, some nearly 90 years old, with indigenous varietals such as Monastrell, Tempranillo, Merseguera, Macabeo, Verdejo, and Moscatel, focusing on sustainable farming and minimal intervention. “We’re seeing a growing interest in terroir-driven Spanish wines,” says Winesellers co-president Adam Sager. “There’s tremendous quality and value to be found right now.”

•Brown-Forman has closed its acquisition of Diplomático rum from Destillers United Group S.L. (Spain), in a deal announced in October. As part of the acquisition, Brown-Forman added an aging, bottling, and shipping production facility located in Panama to the company. Destillers United Group S.L. will continue to produce and age Diplomático in their original distillery at the foot of the Andes mountains.

•M.S. Walker Brands has been named the national importer for the Cigar Box and Frida Kahlo wine brands, which are part of the Santa Rita Estates portfolio. The new national partnership builds on the relationship between Cigar Box and M.S. Walker’s wholesale distribution operation, which has been selling the brand throughout the Northeast since it launched in 2011. Cigar Box includes Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir retailing at $13 a bottle. The Frida Kahlo label includes a Red Blend and Cabernet Sauvignon positioned at $17. M.S. Walker Brands will now also be the importer for Battle Axe ($20), a 100% Argentinian Malbec sourced from a single vineyard estate with vines that are over 80 years old.

•San Francisco-based importer ImpEx has added Pōkeno, a whisky distilled in New Zealand, to its American portfolio, starting with two of the distiller’s core expressions, as well as a U.S.-exclusive release. The first core whisky—Pōkeno Origin—is matured in first-fill Bourbon casks while the second—Pōkeno Discovery—ages in a combination of Bourbon, Oloroso, and Pedro Ximenez casks. Both are bottled at 43% abv. The U.S. exclusive is a single cask offering bottled at 46% abv and, after first maturing in Bourbon casks, is finished for six months in a first-fill Bourbon barrel before bottling.

•Oakville, California’s To Kalon Vineyard, owned by Constellation Brands, has been certified as an organic vineyard by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF). The vineyard switched to organic farming methods three years ago and the wines made from grapes from the 2023 vintage will be the first to be able to carry the organic certification. The shift is part of a wider commitment to sustainability and organic farming for Constellation.

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