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Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine

News Flash


May 2, 2016


WBI and Southern Announce Scholarship

Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. (Southern) of Miami, Fla., and the Wine Business Institute (WBI) at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, Calif., have announced the Southern Wine & Spirits of America Wine Business Scholarship Fund to provide two scholarships annually for five years to undergraduate or graduate students pursuing a degree in wine business.


Vintage Rockefeller and FMG Join Forces

Vintage Rockefeller Wine & Spirits Group (Vintage Rockefeller) has joined forces with New York-based Foundations Marketing Group (FMG) for public relations and events management, digital media and strategic marketing advisory services. New York’s Vintage Rockefeller is a luxury wine and spirits company focused on handcrafted wines and spirits made in France, including Empire Rockefeller Vodka, F. Rockefeller and Sons Champagne and Signature Rockefeller Cognac.


WineDirect Announces Same-Day Shipping

Napa-based commerce, marketing and logistics solutions provider WineDirect now offers same-day shipping for wineries using its order fulfillment services. Orders sent to any of its fulfillment centers before 1:00 p.m. local time will be shipped the same day. WineDirect combines a bi-coastal network and two-day delivery timeframes with same-day shipping and shipment status visibility.


Viña Almaviva Partners with Twins and Joanne

Viña Almaviva S.A., and Twins and Joanne U.S. have formed a strategic partnership, granting the wine merchants importer rights for the luxury Chilean brand Almaviva. The Bordeaux wine merchants are joining forces to deliver the brand owned by Baron Philippe de Rothschild S.A. and Viña Concha y Toro S.A. Viña Almaviva will continue to play a role in strategic marketing.


Linfield to Offer Wine Immersion Program

Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore., will launch a wine industry immersion program this summer. The program is open to Linfield students and the general public who are interested in exploring the wine industry. The eight-week program, beginning June 14, will include field trips to local vineyards and wineries, meetings with wine industry experts and hands-on experiences.


NVV Grants Nearly $6 Million from Auction Napa Valley

The Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) in St. Helena, Calif., has granted nearly $6 million from Auction Napa Valley proceeds to 17 nonprofits that provide community health services. These organizations specialize in the areas of physical and mental health, family support services and senior support services. To date, the NVV has given more than $150 million to Napa County nonprofits through its auction proceeds.     



IGGPRA Elects New Officers

The Independent Grape Growers of the Paso Robles Area (IGGPRA) has named its incumbent board members for 2016: President Lowell Zelinski, Vice President Joe Irick, Secretary Michelle Hido and Treasurer Angela Mitchell. All are wine grape growers in the Paso Robles area. Newly elected board members are the Seminars Committee Chair Jim Wortner and Special Events Committee Chair Marty Self.


Hydraulic Institute Honors Rick Foster

Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Blackmer, part of PSG, a Dover company, has announced that Rick Foster, director of engineering, was recently presented with a Standards Award from the Hydraulic Institute (HI). Foster received the award in recognition and appreciation of his outstanding contributions to the development of ANSI/HI Pump Standards and guidelines published in 2015.


Chris Brown Launches Diligent Wines

The Thornhill Companies in Santa Barbara, Calif., has announced the promotion of Chris Brown from director of winemaking to senior director for production planning and operations. Brown, who’s led winemaking for Thornhill’s Turn Key Wine Brands, assumes a new role as an independent consultant. Turn Key is the first client of Brown’s new company, Diligent Wines, LLC


Cody Ewers Joins Western Square

Western Square Industries in Stockton, Calif., has hired Cody Ewers as Napa area sales representative. His territory will cover all of Napa and Lake County, as well as West Alameda and West Contra Costa Counties. Most recently, Ewers worked with Seguin Moreau Napa Cooperage in the fine northern oak products division.


John Derrick Elected to WAWGG Board

The Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers (WAWGG) in Cashmere, Wash., has elected John Derrick, vice president of vineyard operations for Mercer Canyons, to a three-year term on its board of directors. Officers elected included Todd Newhouse of Upland Vineyards as chair, Ken Lewis of Trail View Farm as secretary/treasurer and Patrick Rawn of Two Mountain Winery as vice chair.


Ste. Michelle’s Mimi Nye Retires

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in Woodinville, Wash., has announced that Mimi Nye, who’s served as vineyard manager for Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Canoe Ridge Estate for 35 years, has retired. Nye, who’s been the sole manager of the vineyard since its inception in 1991, was recently named “Grower of the Year” by the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers.


Ste. Michelle Promotes Kari Smasne, Pedro Flores

Kari Smasne has been promoted to vineyard manager at the Woodinville, Wash.-based Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Canoe Ridge Estate. She takes over for Mimi Nye, who retired on April 9. Pedro Flores, formerly production supervisor at Canoe Ridge Estate, has been promoted to assistant vineyard manager.



Westport Winery Announces New Partners 

Blain and Kim Roberts, founders of the Aberdeen, Wash.-based Westport Winery Garden Resort, have gifted their children, Carrie and Dana, 40 percent ownership in the business. Carrie Roberts, who began as the winery’s tasting room manager, has been CFO since 2014. Dana Roberts, who began as winemaker, is now director of winemaking. Blain and Kim will remain involved in day-to-day operations.


Bonterra Recognized as a 2015 "Hot Brand"

Bonterra Organic Vineyards, the number one wine in the organic wine category, has been recognized as a “Hot Brand” by M. Shanken Communications IMPACT trade magazine. Bonterra grew 19.6% during the 52 weeks ending Jan. 30, 2016 — 10 times faster than the broader U.S. wine market, and double the required growth to receive the award. Bonterra is owned by Fetzer Vineyards in Hopland, Calif.


April 19, 2016


Vintage Nurseries Switches to Plastic

Vintage Nurseries in Wasco, Calif., has replaced its wood storage bins with new plastic storage bins and callous boxes, in addition to its pots and trays. The company made the switch because wood is harder to sanitize. The new plastic con­tainers will be cleaned and sanitized in Vintage Nurseries’ autoclave system, part of its new greenhouse operation.


First Beverage Group Invests in Q Drinks

First Beverage Ventures, the Los Angeles-based private equity arm of First Beverage Group, has invested in Q Drinks, a producer of premium car­bonated mixers, as part of an $11 million equity raise. Q Drinks will use the funds to expand into new channels and territories, invest in sales and marketing, and grow its partnerships with liquor brands across the country.


Gusmer Enterprises to Distribute Arôbois

Gusmer Enterprises, headquartered in Moun­tainside, N.J., has been named the exclusive distributor for Arôbois’ new Arôneo French oak chips. The Arôneo product range consists of four different chips, including Douceur (sweetness), Equilibre (balance), Fraicheur (fresh), and Intense. The chips build the structure of red, white, rose and sparkling wines. See www.gusmerenterpris­es.com for more information.


Chr. Hansen Receives Innovation Award

Denmark’s Chr. Hansen received an Innovation + Quality Award for its Viniflora Concerto, a spe­cialty yeast used to kick-start alcoholic fermenta­tion. The award was bestowed at the 2016 edition of Innovation + Quality (IQ) held in Napa Valley, Calif. In North America, Viniflora Concerto is avail­able exclusively at Gusmer Enterprises Inc.


Promotions at Marriner Marketing

Marriner Marketing Communications, a Colum­bia,Md.-based agency in the food, beverage and hospitality industries, has announced the promo­tions of Trey Buckingham to director of digital art and technology, Bill Coveney to director of digital content and insights, Mike Sidlowski to senior art director and Jessica Painter to associate art direc­tor.


Organizational Changes for Motion Industries

Birmingham, Ala.-based Motion Industries has announced several key changes as part of the company’s organizational structure alignment. Randy Breaux was named senior vice president of marketing, distribution and purchasing. Tony Cefalu is now senior vice president of hose a rub­ber, shops and service centers. Kevin Storer was named senior vice president of U.S. operations.


DrinkSpace Partners with Skip Rock Distillers

DrinkSpace of Redmond, Wash., has signed an agreement with Skip Rock Distillers to provide sales and marketing direction. The agreement comes as the Snohomish, Wash.-based distillery plans to expand to new markets and distributors.


NVV Raises $5M with Barrel Auction

Demand for micro-lot Napa Valley wines resulted in a $5 million fundraising total for the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) Premiere Napa Valley barrel tasting and auction on Feb. 20. It was the third-highest amount raised in the event’s 20-year history. Of the 226 lots sold, 199 were from the 2014 harvest, the third in a string of some of Napa Valley’s most critically acclaimed vintages.


California Winegrape Crush Down

The 2015 California grape crush totaled 3,867,710 tons, down 7% from the 2014 crush, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service in cooperation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Red wine varieties represented the lion’s share of all grapes crushed at 2,040,781 tons, down 5% from 2014. The 2015 white wine variety crush totaled 1,663,790 tons, down 5% from 2014.


Robert Parker to Unveil New Website

The independent consumer’s guide to fine wine Robert Parker Wine Advocate and RobertParker.com, has unveiled a new website as of Apr. 1, 2016. The site will offer a variety of new features, including a new design and functionality, as well as an enhanced search capability, enabling members to search the entire Wine Advocate database of more than 300,000 tasting notes. 


UBC Receives Grant to Boost B.C. Wine

The Canadian Government has granted $1.5 million Canadian dollars to the University of British Columbia (UBC), in cooperation with KEDGE Business School in Bordeaux, France, to boost the B.C. wine Industry’s international competitiveness. The schools have been tasked with developing a global plan to improve the position of British Columbia’s wine industry on the international stage.

Agribotix Receives Frost & Sullivan Award

Boulder, Colo.-based Agribotix LLC has been recognized with the 2016 North American Frost & Sullivan Award for Enabling Technology Leadership. Agribotix provides turnkey, drone-enabled data and analytics solutions for agriculture. Users can scout and record field-level crop data across up to 160 acres in a single flight. Data can then be uploaded and processed to produce high-resolution field reports.


Silveus Partners with Illinois FFA

Silveus Financial, a Chicago-based national crop risk management firm, has announced a partnership with the Illinois FFA, formerly Future Farmers of America, to enhance its agribusiness risk management education program. Silveus Financial will work with teachers to develop classroom curriculum in the form of instructional videos, practice materials and quizzes, and will sponsor the Agribusiness Management Career Development Event Competition. 


Finger Lakes Wine Competition Expands

The Finger Lakes International Wine Competition (FLIWC) announced that it’s become the largest charitable wine competition in the world. Last year, the competition received more than 3,700 entries from 48 states and 20 countries, which were judged by 72 professional wine judges from 18 countries. FLIWC is now accepting entries for its 16th annual competition. See www.fliwc.com for details.



Sebastian Traviesa Joins Sunridge Nurseries

Sunridge Nurseries Inc., in Bakersfield, Calif., has named Sebastian Traviesa to its California nursery staff. Traviesa is experienced in fruit pro­duction and ampelography (identification of dif­ferent grape cultivars). His career has spanned all facets of grapevine production with widespread experience in production, management and sales.


Terlato Wines Promotes Dave Lane, Chris Lynch

Terlato Wines in Lake Bluff, Ill., has promoted Dave Lane to president and COO of Terlato Wines, and Chris Lynch to chief development officer for the Terlato Wine Group. Lane will oversee sales and marketing, as well as related operations. Lynch will focus on new business development, portfolio acquisitions and direct-to-consumer operations at Terlato-owned wineries in California.


Paul Hobbs Hires Andrew Weaver 

Andrew Weaver has joined Paul Hobbs Winery in Sebastopol, Calif., as direct-to-consumer sales director. Previously, Weaver was the estate director for Seghesio Family Vineyards. His wine industry background includes direct-to-consumer roles at Lancaster Estate Winery and Roth Estate Winery.


VPS Hires Jon Winstead, Promotes Linnea Norton

Vineyard Professional Services, Inc, (VPS), a vineyard management company serving the Paso Robles wine industry, has hired Jon Winstead as a vineyard manager and promoted Linnea Norton to the newly created role of viticulture logistics manager. Previously, Winstead managed E. & J. Gallo Winery’s Central Coast vineyards. Norton has worked with VPS for more than 10 years, most recently as a vineyard manager.


CWU Appoints Miranda Porterfield

Central Washington University (CWU) in Ellensburg, Wash., has hired Miranda Porterfield as director of the Global Wine Studies Degree. A veteran of the Washington wine industry, Porterfield has held positions at Cave B Winery, Bunnell Family Cellars and Swiftwater Cellars. She’s taught global wine studies classes since 2013 and holds an MBA from Bordeaux E'cole de Management in France. 


TWE Promotes Bob Spooner

Australia’s Treasury Wine Estates Limited (TWE) has appointed Bob Spooner as president of the company’s operations in the Americas. Spooner replaces Sandra LeDrew, who is leaving TWE after four years. Spooner joined TWE as chief supply officer in January 2015, and has worked to optimize TWE’s supply chain ever since. Prior to joining TWE, Spooner was CEO of Hovis Ltd.


Moët Hennessy Promotes Rodney Williams

Rodney Williams has been promoted to chief marketing officer and executive vice president brands for Moët Hennessy North America (MHUSA) of New York, N.Y. In his new role, Williams is responsible for driving business and marketing strategy for MHUSA’s portfolio of wine and spirit brands. Previously, he served as MHUSA executive vice president, spirits, where he oversaw marketing for luxury super premium spirits brands.


Margaret Leonardi Joins Little Black Dress

Little Black Dress Wines of New York, N.Y., has appointed Margaret Leonardi as winemaker. Leonardi brings a young, fresh perspective to the brand after serving as winemaker for several California vineyards. She received a bachelor’s degree in agriculture business from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.


Westwood Appoints Natalie Winkler, Susan Oh

Westwood Estate Wines in Sonoma, Calif., has named Natalie Winkler assistant winemaker, and hired Susan Oh as relationship development manager. Winkler has worked with winemaker Ben Cane since 2014 as cellarmaster and enologist. Oh will manage e-commerce, events and hospitality for the winery, as well as the Contour Society member allocation program. 


J. Lohr’s Cynthia Lohr and Rhonda Motil Promoted

Cynthia Lohr, former VP of marketing for J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines in San Jose, Calif., is now the trade and brand advocate, while former senior marketing director Rhonda Motil was promoted to vice president of marketing. As a second-generation family owner, Lohr will support the brand among trade and consumer audiences. Motil has been credited with transforming J. Lohr’s retail and distributor programming.                           


David Melnick Joins Marriner Marketing

Marriner Marketing Communications, an agency in the food, beverage and hospitality industries, welcomes David Melnick as vice president, director of strategic partnerships. Melnick has more than 15 years of experience working in the business-to-consumer advertising space, and most recently served as president of Siquis, a Baltimore-based agency. He’s also held senior positions at Eisner Communications.


Nicholas Ferrante Inducted into Hall of Fame

Nicolas Ferrante from the Ferrante Winery and Ristorante in Geneva, Ohio, has been inducted into the Ohio Wine Hall of Fame. Ferrante is a third-generation winemaker from a family that has been selling wine since the 1930s. He’s regarded as a leader in the production of cool climate varietals, including the Signature Series of premium, estate-grown, Grand River Valley wines.


Craig Miller Rejoins Ste. Michelle

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in Woodinville, Wash., has appointed Craig Miller as regional director of global accounts. Miller’s more than 30-year career in the wine and spirits industry includes serving as the former national accounts director-Midwest for Ste. Michelle. Most recently, he was vice president of national accounts for J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines. Miller will be based in Dallas.


Albatross Ridge Names Quelene Slattery Director

Monterey County’s Albatross Ridge has named Quelene Slattery director of sales. Slattery will oversee Albatross Ridge’s sales program for its estate-grown Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, while working with existing distributor partners, and establishing new U.S. markets. A seasoned professional with more than 20 years of sales experience, Slattery has held positions at wineries, including Grgich Hills Estate, Gundlach Bundschu and Beaulieu Vineyards.


Western Square Appoints Margaret Abajian, Tony Giraudo

Stockton, Calif.-based Western Square Industries has named Margaret Abajian its Pacific Northwest sales representative, responsible for Washington, Oregon and British Columbia. Prior to this appointment, Abajian was the Napa and Sonoma territory sales representative for five years. Tony Giraudo has been appointed Sonoma area sales representative. Previously, Giraudo worked with California Glass Company and Saxco International.


Steve Basclain Named Manager for PSG

PSG, a Dover company and manufacturer of pumps, systems and related flow-control solutions, has appointed Steve Basclain business development manager for PSG Ebsray. Basclain will help drive new business opportunities and support the PSG sales teams globally. Basclain, who has more than 20 years of technical, sales and management experience in the Australian pump industry, will be based in Cromer, Australia.


Bacchus Wineworks Hires David Simpson

The Geyserville, Calif.-based sales and marketing company Bacchus Wineworks has named David Simpson vice president of sales and marketing. He will manage Wineworks’ distributor relationships, trade initiatives and sales managers. Simpson has more than 25 years of wine industry sales, marketing and educational training experience. Most recently, he served as vice president of national sales for Mendocino Wine Company


Robert Cappuccino Joins FMG

New York-based Foundations Marketing Group (FMG) welcomes Robert (Bob) Cappuccino as VP of national sales. Cappuccino’s extensive wine and spirits industry experience includes operating his own marketing and sales company for 10 years. He was the first national sales manager and VP for Winebow/Leonardo LoCascio Selections. Recently, Cappuccino worked with various importer/distributors in the greater N.Y. markets.



Imagery Estate Art Collection Moves to SSU

The 442-piece contemporary art collection created during the last 30 years for Imagery Estate Winery's labels has found a new home at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, thanks to a generous donation from the Benziger family and a business partner, former owners of Benziger Family Winery. Together, the collection is valued at more than $2 million.


Gallo Named Exclusive Distributor of Renato Ratti

E. & J. Gallo Winery has been awarded the exclusive rights to distribute Italy’s Renato Ratti wines in the United States. Renato Ratti joins Allegrini, Poggio al Tesoro and Pieropan in Gallo’s Luxury Wine Group (LUX). LUX Wines will distribute Renato Ratti’s Barolo Marcenasco, Barolo Conca, Barolo Rocche dell’Annunziata, Langhe Nebbiolo and Barbera d’Asti.


Westwood Estate Appoints Neat Wines 

Sonoma, Calif.-based Westwood Estate Winery has named Neat Wines the exclusive distributor for its wines in the state of Louisiana. The Neat Wines portfolio includes Alpha Omega, La Sirena, Loring, Matthiasson, Orin Swift, Scarecrow and Tuck Beckstoffer. Neat Wines will focus on Westwood’s limited-production Pinot Noir offerings, as well as its collection of Rhone wines.


Foley Family Purchases Chalone Estate

Bill Foley and Foley Family Wines in Healdsburg, Calif., announced the purchase of Chalone Estate Vineyard, a producer of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in Monterey County. Foley Family Wines is acquiring the Chalone Estate Vineyard and Gavilan brands, as well as nearly 1,000 contiguous acres, with 240 acres planted to vine.


Sarah's Vineyard Partners With Northeast Wines

Sarah's Vineyard in Gilroy, Calif., has announced a partnership with wholesaler Northeast Wine, headquartered in Teaneck, N.J. Northeast sales teams will give key New Jersey accounts first-time access to Sarah's Vineyard's limited releases, including Sarah's Vineyard's Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay and Central Coast Pinot Noir.



WI Veteran Chuck McGrigg Remembered

Chuck McGrigg, Wine Institute’s (WI) central states counsel, died from injuries suffered in an automobile accident on Feb. 15, 2016. He was 74. McGrigg joined Wine Institute in 1974. During his 41-year tenure, he was instrumental in directing work on thousands of bills that impact the way wine is sold today. He made a long-lasting contribution to California. McGrigg is survived by his wife Jeanette, children Matt, Josh and Maggie, and seven grandchildren.


February 26, 2016


Nielsen Launches Brand Index

Nielsen and CGA Strategy, through their Nielsen CGA joint venture, have launched Brand Index, a statistical, fully projected, on-premise measurement service for beverage alcohol clients. Phase one includes total U.S. on premise, with total drinking (bar and nightclub) and total eating (fine and casual dining) and measures across nine census regions and six markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Dallas and Denver. 


Australian Wine Surge in China

Consumption of Australian wine in China is on the rise according to a recent study by the University of South Australia’s Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science. Funded by Wine Australia, the study found that off-premise sales are fueling growth, with more Chinese consumers buying Australian wine for casual consumption online, in wine shops and in grocery stores.


Enzyme Discovery Sheds Light on Pierce’s Disease

UC Davis plant scientists have identified an enzyme that appears to play a key role in the insect-transmitted bacterial infection of grapevines with Pierce’s disease, which annually costs California’s grape and wine industries more than $100 million. The researchers’ findings are reported in Scientific Reports, an online journal of the Nature Publishing Group.


SIP Certified Receives Honors

Sustainability in Practice (SIP) Certified of San Luis Obispo, Calif., has received recognition from two different organizations for its ongoing efforts to promote sustainability in the wine industry. SIP Certified has received the Integrated Pest Management Innovator Award from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. Additionally, SIP Certified will be inducted into the International Green Industry Hall of Fame in March.


Ag Software Startup Receives Grant

VinSense LLC, a West Lafayette, Ind.-based startup that licenses Purdue University-developed software has received a one-year STTR Phase I grant worth $224,949 from the National Science Foundation. The VinSense system comprises two complementary software components. The first set provides information about available moisture in vineyard soil, while the second assembles the information collected to create visual analytic tools.


Sonoma County Winegrowers Win GEELA

Nearly two years after Sonoma County Winegrowers announced its goal to become the nation’s first 100 percent sustainable winegrowing region, the organization has been recognized by the California Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA). The program recognizes individuals, organizations and businesses that have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made notable contributions in conserving California’s resources, protecting and enhancing the environment.


NoPayWineDistributors.com Renamed

Sacramento, Calif.-based NoPayWineDistributors.com has changed its name to WineBizReview.com. The company, which was founded to connect small wineries with positively reviewed distributors, has also announced a new website and expanded services. As part of the new services and website, WineBizReview.com has added a section that invites reviews of importers and suppliers.


Donuts Launches Wine Internet Domains

Bellevue, Wash.-based Donuts, Inc., the largest registry for new “not-com” domain names (known as generic top-level domains or gTLDs), announced that the .WINE and .VIN gTLDs were available for registration Jan. 20, 2016. More than 1,300 brand owners and trademark holders have already registered .WINE and .VIN domains. Sherry.WINE, and Champagne.VIN are examples of live and active sites.


WBI Selects Architects for Learning Center

Rohnert Park, Calif.-based Wine Business Institute (WBI) at Sonoma State University has chosen TLCD Architecture of Santa Rosa and BNBT Builders of San Francisco to partner on design and construction of the future Wine Spectator Learning Center, an education and industry hub. Crews expect to break ground on the $9.15 million project on June 1, 2016, with completion set for summer 2017.


Sonoma County Winegrowers Relaunch

As Sonoma County Winegrowers advances its mission to become the first 100 percent sustainable winegrowing region, the organization has announced it will focus on social responsibility in 2016 with the relaunch of the Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation. The foundation will work with a number of community-based organizations and government agencies to provide resources and support for agricultural employees and their families.


Shur Farms Appoints New Distributor

Shur Farms Frost Protection of Colton, Calif., has announced the appointment of Provide Agro Corporation, an Ontario, Canada-based distributor serving Canada and the Northeastern United States. Provide Agro Corporation will work with Shur Farms Frost Protection to provide growers with state-of-the-art frost protection solutions.


New App for Umpqua Valley Enthusiasts

Oregon’s Umpqua Valley Winegrowers Association is developing a custom wine app for the Umpqua Valley wine region, which will be a free download on all iOS and Android devices. Some of the app functionality will include self-guided winery tours, winery information pages, directions, wine inventories, photos and more.


Barcardi Moves to Southern Glazer’s

Coral Gables, Fla.-based Bacardi, the world’s largest privately held spirits company, has realigned its U.S. distributor network, naming Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc., and Glazer’s, Inc., which have signed a definitive agreement to form Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits LLC, to lead the distribution of its wine and spirits portfolio in more than 40 markets across the United States and Canada.



RRVW Announces 2016 Board

The Russian River Valley Winegrowers (RRVW), a Santa Rosa, Calif.-based nonprofit, has appointed Clay Gantz of Gantz Family Vineyards as the 2016 board president. Other board members include: First Vice President Giovanni Balistreri of Russian River Vineyards; Second Vice President Chris Crispo of Bush Crispo Vineyards; Treasurer Alex Klein of American Ag Credit; and Secretary Carol Kozlowski-Every of Kozlowski Farms.


Balletto Vineyards Welcomes Bill Francis

Bill Francis has joined the team at Balletto Vineyards in Santa Rosa, Calif., as viticulturist. In this newly created role, Francis will oversee all aspects of viticulture for Balletto Vineyards, including the sustainability program, vineyard inspections, and pest and fertility management. He’s worked in North Coast wine grape production for 17 years, most recently as branch manager with Wilbur-Ellis.


CCWC Names Tim McDonald Lead Judge

Tim McDonald CSW will lead the judging panel for the 2016 Central Coast Wine Competition (CCWC) based in Paso Robles, Calif. McDonald, founder of the public relations firm Wine Spoken Here, currently represents wineries in six countries and serves as the director of judging for the San Francisco International Wine Competition. The 14-year-old CCWC will run June 14 -16, 2016.


Clos Du Val Appoints Jon-Mark Chappellet and Ted Henry

Clos Du Val of Napa Valley, Calif., has appointed Jon-Mark Chappellet to the position of director of operations, and Ted Henry to the role of winemaker. Chappellet spent two decades as Chappellet Winery’s director of operations. Henry has more than 15 years of experience making Bordeaux varietal wines, including the past seven years as the winemaker at Napa Valley’s Jarvis Estate.


Michael Monette and Christine Palmberg Join Novavine

Santa Rosa, Calif.-based Novavine, Inc., has announced that Michael Monette and his sales associate, Christine Palmberg, have joined the Novavine sales team. Monette has worked in agriculture for 22 years, with more than 17 years of that in the grapevine nursery business. Palmberg has been in the nursery business for almost 20 years.


First Beverage Group Hires John Sheldon

First Beverage Group of Los Angeles and New York, N.Y., has hired John Sheldon as president of First Beverage Financial, the company’s investment banking division. Sheldon, who most recently was managing director of the consumer products and services group of Peter J. Solomon Company, brings 33 years of experience in mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, restructurings and strategic partnerships.  


Zaca Mesa Promotes Eric Mohseni and Kristin Bryden

Zaca Mesa Winery & Vineyards in Los Olivos, Calif., has promoted Eric Mohseni and Kristin Bryden. Mohseni was promoted from winemaker to director of winemaking and vineyard operations, and Bryden was promoted from associate winemaker to winemaker. Mohseni joined Zaca Mesa in 2001 as enologist and served as winemaker since 2008. Bryden joined Zaca Mesa in 2011 as assistant winemaker. 


Marcy Mallette Joins Laffort

Laffort USA in Paso Robles, Calif., has hired Marcy Mallette as winemaker/technical representative for the California Central Coast. Mallette’s winemaking experiences include work in Sonoma and Napa with a range of small ultra-premium wineries such as Paul Hobbs, Pellegrini and Provenance. After moving to California’s Central Valley, she managed the Cabernet Sauvignon program at E&J Gallo Winery.


Umpqua Valley Announces Board

The Umpqua Valley Winegrowers Association in Roseburg, Ore., has announced its board of directors for 2016: President Terry Brandborg, Brandborg Winery and Vineyard; Vice President Betty Tamm, Triple Oak Vineyard & Wine Vault; Secretary Rob Ikola, Whitetail Ridge Vineyard; and Treasurer Ron Schofield, Deerwood Vineyard.


Monica Cooper and Sarah MacDonald Honored

Bank of the West and Fruition Sciences recently recognized the winner of the 2015 Vintage Report Innovation Award celebrating innovation and sustainability in viticulture. This year’s winner was a collaborative experiment by Monica Cooper, Ph.D., and Envision Geo Owner Sarah MacDonald, Ph.D., with UC Cooperative Extension. They presented a new way to manage grapevine leafroll disease, a major threat to vineyard health.


Ian Dorin Joins Heritage Auctions

Heritage Auctions of Dallas, Texas, has hired Ian Dorin as the New York director of fine wine. Dorin will assist clients in valuing, selling and assembling wine collections from Heritage Auctions’ New York office. Previously, Dorin spent 16 years in the retail segment of the wine industry. For the last 14 years, he served as the wine director of a major wine company.


Jeff Zappelli Named GM of WALT Wines

WALT Wines, the Sonoma-based Pinot Noir and Chardonnay brand owned by Craig and Kathryn Hall, has appointed Jeff Zappelli general manager. Zappelli joined HALL in 2006, where he grew to lead and define HALL’s direct-to-consumer programs. In his new role, Zappelli will be responsible for the day-to-day operations and strategic planning for the Sonoma-based brand.


Henry Politz Joins Scheid Family Wines

Scheid Family Wines in Salinas, Calif., has named Henry Politz its southwest regional sales manager. Politz brings more than 25 years of wine sales experience to the position. He most recently worked for Banfi Vintners, where he served as south central region manager. Politz will be responsible for managing the sales for the growing portfolio of Scheid Family Wines in the Southwest.


Sarah Beck Rejoins Westport Winery

Westport Winery Garden Resort has announced the return of former team member Sarah Beck, who now assumes the role of wine club coordinator and special assistant to winery General Manager Carrie Roberts. Most recently, Beck was the food and beverage manager at the Shoalwater Bay Casino, where she was instrumental in opening Sand Verbena, the casino’s high-end restaurant.



Sarah’s Vineyard Teams with Vision Wine Brands

Sarah’s Vineyard of Gilroy, Calif., has announced a wholesale partnership with Vision Wine Brands of Port Chester, N.Y. Vision’s sales teams currently represent 20 domestic boutique labels. It also imports brands from 12 different countries. This will be the first real opportunity for on- and off-premise accounts in New York to have access to Sarah’s Vineyard’s limited releases.


Terlato to Import Château de La Tour

Terlato Wines of Lake Bluff, Ill., has announced it will import the wines of Burgundian Château de La Tour and the Labet family. The ancestors of the current owners established Château de La Tour in the late 1800s, and are now the sole producer to have their winery within Clos Vougeot. With 15 acres, Château de La Tour also is the largest holder within Clos Vougeot.


Delicato Launches New Wine Portfolio

Delicato Family Vineyards of Napa, Calif., has launched Z. Alexander Brown, a new portfolio of wines from Napa Valley winemaker John Killebrew and Grammy-award winning musician Zac Brown. The wines, which hail from California’s North Coast, include a Cabernet Sauvignon and a proprietary red blend.


Humanitas Spearheads Shoe Drive

Humanitas Wines in Napa, Calif., recently helped more than 10,000 pairs of shoes make it to Soles4Souls Inc. in Nashville, Tenn. The anti-poverty program helps children stay in school and adults reenter the workforce through clothing and shoe drives. Some 20 schools, 28 businesses and hundreds of individuals in Napa, St. Helena and Sonoma collected shoes during the two-month drive.


Castoro Cellars Goes Solar

Templeton, Calif.-based Castoro Cellars has completed installation of a new solar project at its Stone’s Throw Vineyard, which will let the winery run 100 percent on solar power. The 625-kilowatt installation, which covers nearly three acres, will have an annual production of more than 1 million kilowatt hours and eliminate an estimated $20,000 electricity bill per month.


NakedWines.com Expands Operations

NakedWines.com has announced the expansion of its Central Coast winemaking operations in California. The crowdfunding platform most recently added winemaker and consultant Richard Bruno to its efforts. A former director of winemaking for Don Sebastiani & Sons, Bruno has raised $750,000 in crowdfunding to focus on creating Central Coast wines under his own label, including a Paso Robles Cabernet and a Chenin Blanc. 


LVE Honored by Wine Enthusiast

LVE: Legend Vineyard Exclusive Wines by singer and songwriter John Legend, in collaboration with Napa Valley’s Raymond Vineyards, has been awarded Wine Enthusiast’s first-ever Wine Star Award for Wine and Culture. The award recognizes Legend’s contribution of music, culture and art through LVE, a collection of limited-edition Napa Valley wines created in collaboration with Raymond Proprietor Jean-Charles Boisset and Winemaker Stephanie Putnam.


Landmark Vineyards Acquires Hop Kiln

Landmark Vineyards of Sonoma, Calif., has purchased the historic Hop Kiln Vineyards in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley. Hop Kiln will broaden Landmark’s presence in Sonoma County with its vineyards and tasting room. The acquisition includes the current estate in Healdsburg, Calif., and more than 240 acres of land within the Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley AVAs.


Pasternak Partners with Thomas George Estates

Pasternak Wine Imports of Harrison, N.Y., has partnered with Thomas Georges Estates of Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley to oversee the distribution and marketing of its estate-grown and small lot wines. The Thomas George Estates portfolio consists of two independent brands: Thomas George Estate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and Noble Tree Wines.


Treasury Wine Estates Adds Chateau Minuty

Following its acquisition of Diageo Chateau & Estates, Australian-based global winemaking and distribution business Treasury Wine Estates announced it holds the exclusive importing rights in the U.S. for Côtes de Provence rosé producer Château Minuty. Owned by the Matton-Farnet family, Château Minuty is currently one of the best-selling rosé brands in the United States, where it’s growing by double-digits.



Winemaker Bob Oatley Dies at 87

Bob Oatley, who founded Rosemount Estate winery in 1969, died of illness on Jan. 10, at age 87. An avid yachtsman, Oatley owned Wild Oats XI, a maxi yacht most famous for being the race record holder of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Rosemount went on to become the second-biggest selling Australian wine brand in the United States and Australia’s largest family-owned winery. Oatley sold Rosemount to Treasury Wine Estates for $1.4 billion in 2001. Two years later, the Oatley family bought Hamilton Island for $200 million. In 2006, the Oatley family returned to the wine business, opening Robert Oatley Vineyards. Oatley is survived by his wife, Valerie, and three children, Sandy, Ian and Ros.


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