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

News Briefs for April 25, 2023

April 25, 2023

•M.S. Walker has launched Forever Young Rosé, a new collaboration between entrepreneur Bethenny Frankel and Provence’s Château Roubine.  The new brand launches with two wines, Forever Young Côtes de Provence Rosé and Forever Young Prestige Rosé. The former retails for $25 a 750-ml. and is made from grapes sourced across the appellation. Forever Young Prestige Rosé is made from grapes grown in Roubine’s estate vineyards and carries a suggested retail price of $40. The pair of wines are now rolling out across the U.S.

•Oxford Street Merchants, the luxury division of Johnson Brothers, has partnered with winemaker Dave Phinney to exclusively introduce Our Lady of Guadalupe, or “OLG,” across 13 U.S. markets. Sourced from Phinney’s Our Lady of Guadalupe Vineyard on California’s Central Coast, the 2021 vintage of 100% OLG Pinot Noir will be distributed in Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

•Italian wine group Argea has acquired Abruzzo’s Cantina Zaccagnini for an undisclosed sum. Argea said the move strengthens its strategic position in Abruzzo as well as in the U.S., where Zaccagnini is a leader in the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo category, claiming a 30% value share in the off-trade segment. Argea was created by Italian private equity firm Clessidra with the acquisitions of Botter, Mondodelvino, and now Zaccagnini. Consolidated revenue totaled around $500 million last year, with exports representing 90%. North America and Central Europe are Argea’s main export markets. The company is investing to raise its revenue from those two regions from the current $230 million to $300 million by 2025.

•Champagne Billecart-Salmon is launching Nicolas François 2008 in the U.S. Paying tribute to the founder of the Champagne house, Nicolas François 2008 is a combination of crus from the classified vineyards of Montagne de Reims (Pinot Noir) and Côte des Blancs (Chardonnay). It retails at $249 a bottle. Billecart-Salmon is handled by multiple importers in the U.S.

•Hopland, California’s Bonterra Organic Estates has promoted Allison Wetsel to senior vice president of sales. In this new role, Wetsel will lead Viña Concha y Toro USA, the commercial division of the company. She joined Bonterra in 2022 as vice president of sales and is a two-decade industry veteran. Prior to joining Bonterra, Wetsel was executive vice president at Ranch Rider Spirits Co. and served as president of sales and wholesale at The Family Coppola.

•Texas-based Ben E. Keith has appointed Flint Prewitt as beverage division president, taking effect January 1, 2024, upon the retirement of Kevin Bartholomew. A three-decade veteran of the Ben E. Keith, Prewitt was most recently vice president of sales, overseeing all sales and operational execution for the beverage division. Bartholomew is retiring after a 39-year run with the company, serving as president of the beverage division since 2000. Ben E. Keith’s beverage unit ranks as the third-largest independent beer wholesaler nationally.

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