Liquor Industry News 4-3-13

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Franklin Liquors

 

Wednesday April 3rd 2013

Today Is A Biodynamic FRUIT Day.

Great To Taste Or Drink Wine!

 

Diageo’s Rs 11,000-cr United Spirits deal in trouble over beleaguered Vijay Mallya

 

Source: Indian Express

Wed Apr 03 2013

 

With the Bombay High Court allowing lenders to sell the shares pledged by Vijay Mallya’s United Breweries Holdings (UBHL) as well as other group firms, doubts have risen over the Rs 11,000-crore deal structured by the billionaire in November 2012 with the world’s largest spirits maker, Diageo, to sell a stake in United Spirits (USL).

 

With lenders – who had been given the shares as collateral for loans given to Kingfisher Airlines – free to sell and several having already sold the shares in the market, Mallya may not be left with enough shares to offer to Diageo in a three-tier transaction.

 

While a UB Group spokesperson declined to comment, Diageo could not be contacted immediately for its response over the latest development.

 

As per the deal, of the 27.4 per cent stake that Diageo was to acquire in the first stage, 19.3 per cent was by direct stake from UBHL and certain USL subsidiaries and group trusts.

 

However, with 97.94 per cent shares (35.2 million shares) of Mallya’s 28.1 per cent (35.97 million shares) holding in USL being pledged with lenders and with them starting to sell the shares in the market, he may not not be left with any to offer to Diageo.

 

At Tuesday’s closing price, the pledged shares are worth Rs 6,552 crore.

 

The only option before him was some relief from the Bombay High Court, which did not come his way on Tuesday. The court refused to grant interim relief to UBHL for a stay on the sale of pledged shares in USL and Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers by the State Bank of India-led consortium of banks.

 

The consortium had initiated the sale of shares of USL that were pledged by UBHL as security against the lending of over Rs 7,000 crore to Kingfisher Airlines.

 

In a hardening of stance after the court refused any relief to Mallya, State Bank of India chairman Pratip Chaudhuri told Bloomberg that it will seize collateral pledged by the company.

 

“The bank has called up the loan and has asked the company to repay,” Chaudhuri said. “We will invoke all the guarantees and securities that we hold including shares of United Spirits that is pledged as collateral and personal assets of the people who have given the guarantee,” he added.

 

While the company had pledged a total of 35.2 million shares of USL with various entities, the consortium of 18 banks led by SBI have 2.6 million shares as collateral with them. They have already sold 7,30,000 shares of USL in three tranches as on Tuesday.

 

It remains to be seen as to how Diageo, which had plans to take its stake eventually to 53.4 per cent, completes the transaction.

 

 

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AB InBev Seeks Payment From CVC

 

Source: WSJ

By DANA CIMILLUCA

Apr 2nd

 

An unusual legal spat has surfaced over Anheuser-Busch InBev NV’s BUD +0.83% sale of an Eastern European beer company to buyout firm CVC Capital Partners at the height of the financial crisis in 2009.

 

The previously unreported dispute, disclosed in an annual filing AB InBev made last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission, centers on a payment the Budweiser beer maker says it is owed based on CVC’s return on the investment, which it has since sold.

 

CVC declined to comment, but based on the filing, it argues it doesn’t owe any such payment. The dispute is headed to court.

 

The dust-up involves the sale in December 2009 of the brewing giant’s operations in a handful of countries, including Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic, to CVC for cash and other consideration totaling $2.2 billion. At the time, AB InBev was scrambling to raise cash to pay down debt it assumed in the massive purchase of Anheuser-Busch the prior year, without having to sell its depressed shares.

 

As part of that deal, ABI secured what is known as a Contingent Value Right, or CVR-a way of rewarding a seller should the business in question perform well following the deal-pegged to CVC’s return on the investment.

 

Last June, CVC sold the business, then known as StarBev, to Molson Coors Brewing Co. TAP +0.73% for ?2.65 billion ($3.4 billion). That deal included ?500 million of convertible debt issued to CVC, which was to enable them to “participate in future upside” in the business, according to a news release at the time. According to last week’s filing, AB InBev believes the terms of that deal triggered an obligation on CVC’s part to make an additional payment to AB InBev.

 

“CVC in October issued proceedings against us in the English Commercial Court in relation to the CVR Agreement and sought a declaration that the return it received following the sale to Molson did not trigger our right to payment,” the filing reads. In it, AB InBev didn’t go into detail on how much money is at stake, other than to say “The amount we are able to recover will depend on discovery and calculation criteria to be explored at trial.”

 

AB InBev said in a statement it “will defend its rights to make sure it receives what it is entitled to under the calculations to be made under the CVR.”

 

CVC declined to comment.

 

CVC is one of the biggest private-equity firms, raising a ?10.8 billion European fund in 2008. It holds such high-profile assets as the Formula One racing business and BJ’s Wholesale Club of the U.S. It is rare for such a firm to get into a public spat with a big industry player like AB InBev; global blue-chip corporations are a major source of deals for buyout shops, as both StarBev transactions show. For CVC, openly quarreling with one of them could risk having a chilling effect on the willingness of others to enter into deals with the buyout fund operator.

 

 

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Quorn Owner Acquires Taste For Whisky Deal

 

Investor in meat-free food substitute and flagship West End theatres emerges as bidder for Scotch producer, Sky News understands.

 

Source: Sky News

By Mark Kleinman, City Editor

02 April 2013

 

The investment group which owns the meat-free food range Quorn is in talks to take control of one of Britain’s biggest independent whisky distillers.

 

I understand that Exponent Private Equity is the mystery party which has been holding discussions about a takeover of the Loch Lomond Distillery Company.

 

A deal would value Loch Lomond at tens of millions of pounds, although the exact price tag is unclear.

 

Exponent is understood to be the front-runner to acquire Loch Lomond, although other prospective buyers are also in the frame, according to people familiar with the situation.

 

Sky News reported the potential takeover of Loch Lomond in February.

 

Exponent, which may acquire Loch Lomond as part of a wider consortium of investors, bought Quorn Foods in 2011, and has broad exposure to other consumer-facing companies.

 

The private equity group is also a shareholder in Ambassador Theatre Group, HSS, the tool-hire company, and Radley, the premium handbag manufacturer.

 

If a deal is agreed, it would end the independence of one of Scotland’s oldest whisky producers. The family of Sandy Bulloch, Loch Lomond’s current chairman, traces its interest in the industry back to 1842, when Gabriel Bulloch partnered JH Dewar in a Scotch wholesaling business in Glasgow, according to the company’s website.

 

Loch Lomond branched out into retail outlets as well as becoming one of the largest independent bottlers of spirits in Scotland. It owns the Glen’s vodka brand, which it says is the second-biggest seller in the UK, as well as a bottling plant called Glen Catrine Bonded Warehouse Company.

 

Media reports last year said that the company recorded a modest rise in turnover from £17.83m to £18.3m in the year to March 31, 2011.

 

Accounts filed at Companies House show that Loch Lomond made a pre-tax loss of nearly £200,000 during the following 12-month period, with which directors said they were “happy” despite “a demanding year”.

 

Among the claims that Loch Lomond makes about itself is that it is the second-largest family-owned distillery in Scotland and that it is the only distillery in Scotland that produces both grain and malt whisky on the same site.

 

Its average annual production is 10 million litres of grain alcohol and 2.5 million litres of malt alcohol, the equivalent of 43 million standard bottles of whisky every year.

 

Loch Lomond is one of the few prominent whisky producers not to count itself among the members of the industry body, the Scotch Whisky Association.

 

Exponent declined to comment.

 

 

——

Scotch exports hit by falling demand (Additional Coverage)

 

Source: FT

By Hannah Kuchler

Apr 2nd

 

Falling sales of Scotch to France and Spain led to a drop in the total volume of the whisky exported last year, which stalled after more than a decade of growth fuelled by its popularity in emerging markets.

 

The industry – which makes up three-quarters of Scotland’s food and drink exports and a quarter of the UK’s – suffered a 5 per cent decline in exports by number of units sold in 2012, according to the Scotch Whisky Association.

 

Compared with 2011 data, exports to France, by far the largest European consumer of the drink, dropped by 25 per cent after a new tax was introduced and shipments to Spain fell 20 per cent as the economic crisis dampened spirits.

 

But the value of exports edged up 1 per cent to reach £4.3bn – 87 per cent more than 10 years ago – as drinkers opted for more premium bottles. In 2012, shipments to India rose 5 per cent in volume, and 17 per cent in value.

 

 

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Liquor Sales in Russia Drop 9% in February

 

Source: RIA Novosti

Vladimir Astapkovich

02/04/2013

 

Sales of vodka and other spirits in Russia dropped almost 9 percent in February year on year to 113 million liters, the Federal Statistics Service (Rosstat) said in a report on Tuesday.

 

Beer sales declined less than 1 percent in February compared to the same period last year, to some 730 million liters.

 

Wine sales dropped 4.5 percent year on year in the reporting period to 73 million liters, following 7 percent growth in January. Overall, wine sales increased by 5 percent in the first two months of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.

 

Sales of sparkling wine grew 5 percent in February to 22 million liters.

 

Sales of low-alcohol drinks (defined as those containing less than 9 percent alcohol by volume) fell almost 12 percent year on year in the first two months of 2013, to 42 million liters.

 

 

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Australia: Lion causes uproar with draught beer at home product

 

Source: TheShout

By James Atkinson

03/04/2013

 

Lion will forge ahead with Tap King, its controversial new beer dispenser that enables drinkers to enjoy six beers from the brewer’s range on draught in the comfort of home.

 

Lion has been in lengthy consultation with the hotel industry over the Tap King system, which irate publicans argue gives drinkers another reason to stay at home, where they can already watch sport, place bets and smoke freely.

 

Lion’s position however is that Tap King “is designed to give beer drinkers more choice when getting out to the pub isn’t an option and they are enjoying a beer at home”.

 

“Our research indicates that 69 per cent of all drinking occasions take place in the home and Tap King has been specifically designed for those occasions,” a Lion spokesperson told TheShout.

 

“Tap King won’t change the fact that Australians love getting out to pubs and clubs for a beer with mates, and we certainly don’t want it to. Pubs and clubs are an essential part of a vibrant, sociable community and we continue to see on-premise as an important channel for our business.”

 

Documents obtained by TheShout reveal that the dispense head (pictured above) would have a retail price of $32.99, with 3.2 litre PET bottle refills priced at between $18.99 and $27.99 each for the available beers – XXXX Gold, Tooheys New, Tooheys Extra Dry, Hahn Super Dry, James Boag’s Premium and James Squire Golden Ale.

 

Lion professes that retailers’ margins on the refills, which will also come in twin packs, will range between 16.5 per cent and 27.5 per cent, depending on the beer.

 

But retailers who have spoken with TheShout highly doubt these margins will be retained, with prices to inevitably come down when the product is discounted by the chains.

 

‘A sad day for pubs’

 

Australian Hotels Association national CEO Des Crowe told TheShout: “There is some concern amongst the AHA membership that this product undermines draught beer served in hotels by encouraging customers to stay home with a cheaper product.”

 

“Even as packaged beer has become increasingly affordable through retail outlets, pubs have maintained the advantage that the draught beer experience could not be replicated at home. This is now under some threat,” he said.

 

Sydney publican Glen Stanford told TheShout it is a “sad day” for the on-premise.

 

“Both the on and off-premise will agree that draught beer is better than packaged beer. The one thing that we’ve always been able to do is provide a good beer that you couldn’t get at home,” he said.

 

“Now they’re taking that advantage away from us and I think that’s sad.”

 

But fellow hotelier Will Ryan, of Sydney’s Harold Park Hotel, said any home draught beer product will not be able to compete with the food and beverage offering of his pub, which has 16 different draught beers on tap.

 

“We’ve seen what’s happened with packaged beer over the last 20 years where it’s become so cheap that people will stay at home and drink before they go out. But they’ll still come to the pub for the atmosphere, the service, the camaraderie,” he said.

 

 

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Beverage Alcohol Resource’s DRINKSKOOL.com Is Now in Session!

 

Online Cocktail Teaching Program Designed to Make Everyone a Better Bartender

 

Source: Savona Communications

April 3, 2013

 

Award-winning beverage industry icons Dale DeGroff, Doug Frost, Steve Olson, F. Paul Pacult, Andy Seymour and David Wondrich, the founding members of legendary Beverage Alcohol Resource® LLC (BAR), are delighted to announce that DrinkSkool, their consumer-oriented, on-line teaching program, is now operational. DrinkSkool.com is BAR’s engaging, enlightening and entertaining on-line spirits and mixology education program that brings the expertise of six of the world’s foremost spirits and cocktail professionals into easily digested form.

 

Best of all, DrinkSkool tuition is FREE!

 

Says BAR® partner Doug Frost, “DrinkSkool is the cutting-edge, step-by-step on-line resource for cocktail creation and mixology methods. We designed and constructed DrinkSkool in such an approachable way that virtually anyone can become an accomplished maven of spirits and cocktails.even Dale and Paul.”

 

Drinkskool is laid out in 10 Lessons, starting with Lesson One: Mixology through to Lesson Ten: Preparing for the Certified Drinks Expert Examination. Here are five key benefits that anyone – from average consumers of beverage alcohol to industry professionals – can gain by taking DrinkSkool’s 10 Lessons:

 

.         Watch BAR Master Ryan Maybee (and IMBIBE Magazine’s Mixologist of the Year) craft the most important cocktails, cocktails everyone wants to be able to make

 

.         Discover how professionals taste and evaluate spirits and cocktails for balance and quality in Lesson Seven

 

.         Learn critical bartending techniques and tricks (how to muddle mint, flame an orange peel and more) from BAR partner Andy Seymour

 

.         Understand what differentiates a Blended Malt Scotch from a Single Malt Scotch; an Irish Whisky from a Japanese whisky; and an Armagnac from a Cognac in Lesson Five

 

.         Access an ever-expanding bank of new and classic cocktail recipes

 

Taking part in BAR’s DrinkSkool is easy: simply log onto www.DrinkSkool.com. Once there, follow the Lessons, view the videos, learn the recipes and become a member of an expanding community of cocktail lovers and aficionados.  

 

Drinkskool Lessons include everything you need to know to become a pro behind the bar (even if that’s your own home bar):

1.       Mixology

2.       Recipes

3.       How People Make Distilled Spirits

4.       White Spirits

5.       Brown Spirits

6.       Liqueurs

7.       Tasting Spirits and Cocktails

8.       Advanced Mixology

9.       How to Judge a Bar

10.     Preparing for the Certified Drinks Expert Examination

 

And get ready to join the BAR guys for DrinkSkool’s next great iteration: THE CERTIFIED DRINKS EXPERT EXAMS! Coming later in 2013, the DrinkSkool exams that will earn you the right to call yourself a Certified DrinkSkool Expert!

 

ABOUT BEVERAGE ALCOHOL RESOURCE

BAR was conceived in March 2005 over drinks in San Francisco. BAR became a formal and legal entity in July 2006 and today is globally looked upon as the platinum standard of spirits and mixology instruction. The six founding members are Dale DeGroff, Doug Frost, Steve Olson, F. Paul Pacult, Andy Seymour and David Wondrich.

 

 

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US criticizes EU restrictions on wine labels

 

Source: France 24

Apr 2nd

 

The United States on Monday criticized the European Union’s restrictions on wine labeling, saying they hinder US wine exports to the 27-nation bloc.

 

The US Trade Representative’s office said the EU’s policy of seeking exclusive use of so-called traditional terms such as tawny, ruby, reserve, classic, and chateau on wine labels had an undesirable effect.

 

“The EU’s regulation of traditional terms severely restricts the ability of non-EU wine producers to use common or descriptive and commercially valuable terms to describe their products sold in the EU,” the USTR said in a report on trade barriers.

 

According to the report, the EU may allow third-country producers to use the traditional terms if their governments forge an agreement with the EU regulating use of the terms in their markets.

 

While no US shipments have been blocked to the EU, the USTR said, “US industry reports that the regulation has deterred exporters from seeking to enter the EU market.”

 

The report came as the US and the EU prepared to begin negotiations this year on an ambitious trade and investment partnership that would create the world’s largest free-trade area.

 

The USTR said it was “problematic” that the EU was trying to expand the list of the so-called traditional terms to include additional “commercially valuable terms” that lack a common definition across all EU member states.

 

Noting that the EU maintained its policy is aimed at avoiding the misuse of terms that may confuse customers, the US trade office said the terms have been used “without incident” on US wines in the EU market for many years.

 

The EU had allowed the use of the terms by other countries, including Chile, South Africa, Canada, and Australia, it said.

 

According to the USTR, the US this year will continue to work with US wine exporters on how to resolve the wine labeling issues with EU officials at the World Trade Organization and in bilateral meetings.

 

 

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China Foods to buy wineries in Australia, US

 

Source: China Daily

By Zhou Siyu

April 2nd

 

China Foods Ltd – the Hong Kong-listed consumer food arm of Cofco, the country’s largest State-owned food conglomerate – will buy two or three wineries in Australia and the United States, in a bid to expand its wine sales while fending off competition from surging wine imports.

 

The acquisitions, aimed at locally renowned brands, will be worth at least $20 million and are expected to be completed within the next two years, China Foods’ Managing Director Luan Xiuju said at a news conference in Beijing on Monday.

 

“I’ve visited the wineries. Now everything depends on the progress of our talks with them,” she said.

 

Luan also said the company is in talks with two global leading wine dealers to become their exclusive brand representative and distributor in China.

 

The company owns two overseas wineries: Chateau Viaud in Bordeaux, France, and the Bisquert winery in Chile. Sales from its wine import business were less than $15 million last year.

 

The company said the recent moves are intended to compete with foreign wine suppliers, which have eroded the market shares of domestic wine producers in the Chinese market in the last few years.

 

China’s wine imports have seen a significant increase over the last seven years. The amount surged from fewer than 400 million liters in 2004 to 1,400 million liters in 2011, according to a report by Rabobank, making the country an attractive market for wine dealers across the world.

 

China Foods to buy wineries in Australia, US

 

Among foreign suppliers, France continued to dominate China’s wine market in 2012. From June 2011 to July 2012, China’s imports of Bordeaux wine reached 63 million liters, industry data showed.

 

The vast amount of imported wine has seriously affected the sales of domestic producers.

 

Yantai Changyu Pioneer Wine Co Ltd saw a dramatic decline in its sales of premium wines and reported an 11.1 percent fall in net profit to 1.7 billion yuan ($273 million) for 2012.

 

China Foods’ wine sales, which account for a major part of its revenue, were also affected. The company’s net profit slumped 41 percent from 646 million Hong Kong dollars ($83 million) to 382 million HK dollars.

 

Apart from further overseas expansion, China Foods said it also plans to boost sales by launching new entry-level products.

 

“The new products will be priced between 50 and 100 yuan, to make them affordable to common consumers. This is also in line with the relatively slower economic growth this year,” said Luan.

 

Meanwhile, analysts cheered the planned acquisitions.

 

“Overseas investments will help the company gain more expertise as well as experience in wine production and winery management,” said Ma Wenfeng, a senior analyst at Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultant.

 

“China’s market is growing very fast but is still less familiar with the wine culture than Western countries. The most important thing right now is to bring wine into the households as well as to people’s daily life,” Ma added.

 

 

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Champagne shipments up +8.3% in January, growth outside of France

  

Source: Barclay’s

Apr 2nd

 

CIVC global shipments grew by -8.3% in January 2013, an improvement from the -8.8% reported in December. This comes on an easy comparable of -13.1% in January 2012 and we note that the month accounts for less than 5% of annual shipments. France was down by -4.4% on an easy comparable (-13.2% in January 2012). European volumes were up by 23.9%, compared to -19.6% a year before. Shipments to other countries (19% of volumes) grew by 26% (-4.3% in January 2012).

We reiterate our negative stance on the champagne sector. With austerity measures increasing in many of the core European markets and with an additional 1,700 kilo per hectare of grape supply due to hit the market (a 25% increase in supply on 2011 following the yield restrictions imposed by the industry in 2009), category pricing appears vulnerable. We believe the risks remain skewed to the downside. We maintain our UW ratings on Laurent-Perrier and Lanson-BCC, and EW rating on Vranken-Pommery. Our preferred pick in the European Beverages space remains Pernod Ricard (OW, PT EUR 105) given its superior emerging market, Brown Spirits exposure.

 

 

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Jackson Family Wines’ Valley of the Sun Fine Wines Distributorship and Southern Wine & Spirits of Arizona’s Fine Wine Division, Vintage Selections, Align in Arizona

 

Source: BusinessWire

April 02, 2013

 

Wayne E. Chaplin, President & Chief Operating Officer, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. (Southern)-the nation’s leading wine and spirits distributor-announced today that Jackson Family Wines’ (JFW) Valley of the Sun Fine Wines wholesaler (VOS) has aligned with the fine wine arm of Southern Wine & Spirits of Arizona (SWS-AZ). VOS is a division of Regal Wine Company, a subsidiary of JFW-one of America’s premiere family-owned, super premium wineries. The newly-formed, collaborative, luxury portfolio-selling division will be called VOS-Vintage Fine Wines and Spirits.

 

“I truly look forward to working with JFW in Arizona-and beyond-in the years ahead. They share the strategic vision, approach and values that will keep us on the same page as we successfully steward their leading portfolio of premium and super premium brands long into the future.”

 

Chaplin, commenting on this new luxury division within SWS-AZ, said, “We are thrilled to expand our relationship with Jackson Family Wines in Arizona. Like us, they are a family-owned and -run company with impressive leadership who take a future-focused view of this business. Their model of premiumization is right in line with Southern’s long-term fine wine strategy.”

 

Building on Chaplin’s comments, JFW President Rick Tigner added, “We at Jackson Family Wines are a leading producer, and Southern the leading distributor, of fine wine in the United States. We are excited to align with their team in Arizona and enable the synergies evoked by bringing our two powerhouse companies together.”

 

Brad Vassar, Southern’s Executive Vice President & General Manager, remarked, “I truly look forward to working with JFW in Arizona-and beyond-in the years ahead. They share the strategic vision, approach and values that will keep us on the same page as we successfully steward their leading portfolio of premium and super premium brands long into the future.”

 

Michael Jahn, Executive Vice President, General Manager for Arizona and New Mexico, offered, “The culture of Southern has always been infused and shaped by our fine wine business. Bringing these two leading fine-wine companies together-with all their resident capabilities-is no doubt a powerful formula for success. I know we at SWS-AZ value the resources and skill sets that the Valley of the Sun organization will bring to the relationship.”

 

This new organization will be in place in May 2013.

 

 

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Bordeaux 2012: ‘No need to wait’ says Moueix as La Fleur Petrus, Trotanoy and Belair Monange released

 

Source: Decanter

by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

Tuesday 2 April 2013

 

JP Moueix sets the early tone ahead of en primeur tasting week by releasing their full 2012 range.

 

Etablissements JP Moueix, owners of leading Right Bank estates Chateaux La Fleur Pétrus, Trotanoy and Belair Monange, has released its full range of 2012 wines a week before en primeur with prices down by an average 15%.

 

Edouard Moueix, director of JP Moueix alongside his father Christian Moueix, told Decanter.com that their strategy is always to release the wines first in Belgium, with the UK release planned for the week following the official en primeur tasting week.

 

‘In some years, we will only release the mid-range chateaux at this point, but in 2012 we feel that there is no need to wait. This is a vintage for buying and selling, and to create a sense of excitement in the wines, we felt this made sense.’

 

Moueix said prices are between 10% and 15% down from last year. ‘We have decreased the prices not because of the quality of the wine, but because of the situation of the market.’

 

As en primeur tasting week approaches, there has been a general call for 2012 prices to see a minimum 20% drop on last year. First Growths, according to several sources in Bordeaux, are expected to come out early in the campaign, with some sources suggesting a drop of 30% on last year’s prices is realistic.

 

‘There is no need to wait for Parker scores in a difficult year,’ one leading broker told Decanter.com this week, ‘and there is not a lot of money around anyway, so it’s best to go early at a good price.’

 

Patrick Bernard, of négociants Millésima, appealed to a group of chateaux owners at his retasting of the 2011 wines last month with the words, ‘2011 had a taste that the consumers don’t like… It was too expensive. 2012 gives you the chance to use the same clairvoyance as you did in 2008. You diagnosed the problem then, please do it again.’

 

Alongside Moueix, the RendezVous Médoc chateaux, including 13 Médoc estates, such as Arsac, Cambon La Pelouse and Caronne Ste Gemme, will again release their wines through Les Grands Crus brokerage firm, in the week beginning April 15.

 

 

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Willamette Valley Vineyards Posts a Profit for 2012

 

Source: SacBee

By Willamette Valley Vineyards

Mar. 29, 2013

 

Willamette Valley Vineyards (NASDAQ:WVVI), a leading Oregon producer of Pinot Noir, generated net profits of $1,202,849 or $0.25 per share for 2012, up from $857,755 or $0.18 per share for 2011, representing a $345,094 or 40.2% increase in net profits.

 

The Company produced revenues of $12,527,268 and $12,235,986 in the years 2012 and 2011, respectively, an increase of $291,282 or 2.4%.  The primary reasons for this increase are increased retail sales, partially offset by decreases in out-of-state sales to distributors.  Gross profit margin was 58.1% and 57.0% for 2012 and 2011, respectively.

 

Selling, general and administrative expenses were $5,075,052 and $4,548,125 for the years 2012 and 2011, respectively, an increase of $526,927 or 11.6%.  This increase was primarily the result of the absorption of costs from activities that had previously been shared by the in-state distribution activities, which were discontinued during 2012.

 

During 2012, the company completed the wind-down of all in-state self-distribution activities.  Losses from these discontinued operations before taxes were $242,878 and $919,961 for the years 2012 and 2011, respectively, a reduction of $677,083 or 73.6%.

 

Jim Bernau, Founder and President of the winery said, “We are very encouraged by the positive performance of our wines in 2012.  We believe our tradition of creating elegant, classic Oregon Pinot Noir is getting noticed.  We hope to continue to grow our direct-to-consumer sales programs by expanding the hospitality services at our winery.”

 

Willamette Valley Vineyards, Inc. is headquartered at its Estate Vineyard near Salem, Oregon.  The Company’s common stock is traded on NASDAQ (WVVI).

 

 

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Servant Disses Ex-Boss In Billionaire Wine Fraud Trial

 

Source: Forbes

Apr 2nd

 

In what could have been a scene out of Downton Abbey, a former servant of onetime-billionaire Eric Greenberg testified in Manhattan federal court today that his ex-boss was a tyrant, and admitted to sending an email in which he called him an —hole.

 

Such is the evidence being uncorked as part of a wine fraud trial brought against Greenberg by William I. Koch, the coal and petroleum magnate who is worth an estimated $4 billion and is #329 on the Forbes Billionaires list. His suit, for about $320,000, has been winding its way through the legal system for more than five years, certainly consuming millions in legal fees. It stems from the purchase of 36 bottles of wine at two separate sales conducted by Zachy’s Wine Auctions in December 2004 in October 2005.

 

Koch alleges that these bottles are counterfeit and that Greenberg was aware of this when he consigned them. Zachy’s was originally named in the lawsuit, but the case against them was dismissed in January 2011.

 

Greenberg contends that he did not know any of the bottles at issue were counterfeit; and that Koch could have determined their authenticity if he had inspected them before the auction.

 

Jaime J. Cortes, who worked for Greenberg for four years as his personal chef and manager of his Ross, Calif. home, learned about the case as a result of an article in Wine Spectator magazine, and contacted Koch’s handlers offering to help. There is an issue about whether this would violate a 2001 confidentiality agreement that is part of the court record but which, according to his testimony, he does not remember signing. Koch is not compensating him for being a witness, but has agreed to pay his legal expenses “If Mr. Greenberg comes after me,” he explained today on the witness stand.

 

The day included videotaped clippings of a deposition by Serena Sutcliffe, a wine expert from Sotheby’s auction house who visited Greenberg’s wine cellar in April 2002. One of the eight jurors slept through most of her monotone testimony, based on which the two sides reach opposite conclusions about whether she warned Greenberg that some of his wines were counterfeit. Among the pricey bottles discussed today were a 1950 Chateau LaFleur appraised at $10,000 to $15,000-a sum that might have been a significant portion of some jurors’ annual income.

 

They seemed most attentive to Cortes, who turned to them often during his testimony, and held up a plastic water bottle to demonstrate the position of bottles on the shelves in Greenberg’s cellar. He described how, in the course of his tenure there, he fielded frequent phone calls from wine merchants, ran the house “like the Ritz-Carlton” and worked long hours in what he referred to repeatedly as a “holding pen” listing new wine acquisitions on notepads.

 

Following Sutcliffe’s visit, he recalls, Greenberg was very upset about the possibility that some of his wines were counterfeit. With an appraiser’s help, he identified 108 bottles with questionable authenticity, and traced those to Royal Wine Merchants. They entered into a settlement around February 2004.

 

Greenberg would not tell Cortes how much money he got back, but did say that the settlement permitted him to keep the wine. When Cortes asked for a bottle as a trophy, Greenberg refused and said, “What they did to me, I’m going to do to someone else.” At issue in the trial is whether Greenberg consigned some of these bottles to Zachy’s.

 

At the trial today, Cortes told a smooth narrative about what happened next: Greenberg announced that he was selling some wine to fund a company he was starting, and because he had more than he could drink. Cortes packed bottles to be shipped for auction, and when Greenberg had multiples of the same wine, he told him to “send the shittiest bottle.” The story, which seemed polished and well-rehearsed, conflicted in spots with clips from his more tentative videotaped deposition of 2010, projected during cross examination.

 

During the cross-examination, Frank C. Cialone, one of Greenberg’s team of lawyers, also tried to discredit Cortes as a spurned employee. When Cortes moved on to a new job in November 2004, Greenberg paid him a $2,500 bonus, instead of the $25,000 he originally promised.

 

Greenberg, who was called as a witness yesterday by the Koch team, sat all day today at his counsel’s table, dressed in a blue Edwardian-cut suit, white shirt and red tie. He leaned forward with a pained look on his face as he listened to Cortes’s testimony.

 

On the opposite side of the courtroom sat Koch in pinstripes, awaiting his turn on the witness stand. No stranger to wine fraud cases, he sued Christie’s in 2005 for selling him wine that allegedly belonged to Thomas Jefferson. The case was dismissed because it was filed too late.

 

 

——

Paolo Basso crowned world’s best sommelier

 

Source: Decanter

by John Stimpfig

Tuesday 2 April 2013

 

Paolo Basso has beaten off competition from 53 other hopefuls to be named Best Sommelier in the World.

 

The 47-year-old Swiss-Italian was crowned champion at the 14th finals held by Association de la Sommelerie Internationale in Japan. The global contest takes place every three years.

 

Veronique Rivest of Canada and Aristide Spies from Belgium were named as runners-up to Basso, making Rivest the first woman to achieve a top three finish.

 

Only 12 sommeliers made it through to the semi-finals, including the UK’s Eric Zwiebel, of the Summer Lodge in Dorset, and Turkey’s Isa Bal, of the Fat Duck.

 

‘It was very hard and only gets tougher and more pressurised when you get to the finals,’ said a delighted Basso, who was presented with silver jeroboam engraved with his name for winning the three-day event.

 

Basso received his trophy from Benoit Gouez, chef de cave of Moet Hennessy, alongside his wife and daughter in front of a 4,000-strong audience and live on Japanese television.

 

‘It is a very important moment for me,’ he said. ‘I would like to thank first of all my family because they allowed me the time for the hard training.’

 

Basso, who lifted the European Sommelier title three years ago, was runner-up in the world competition in 2000, 2007 and 2010, missing out to Gerard Basset in the last final.

 

Having trained at the Swiss Sommelier Association School, Basso currently lectures on wine, runs a consulting business named Ceresio Vini and is a Judge at the Decanter World Wine Awards. He is also wine director of Conca Bella restaurant near Lake Como in northern Italy.

 

He plans to spend a few days holiday with his family in Japan, following his win.

 

 

——

GLAZER’S, INC. APPOINTS SEAN ECKHARDT SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT SALES, DMH DIVISION, LOUISIANA

 

Source: Glazer’s

Apr 2nd

 

Glazer’s today announces that Sean Eckhardt is appointed as Senior Vice President of Sales, DMH Division, Louisiana. Eckhardt will lead the sales function for the Louisiana DMH portfolio, be responsible for topline performance, drive customer relationships, and enhance value-added services. Eckhardt will report to Pete Carr, Glazer’s Executive Vice President, DMH. The appointment is effective April 15, 2013.

 

Eckhardt’s most recent position was Vice President Sales with Florida Distributing Company. Prior to that he held various positions with the Schenck Company and also worked with Copeland’s Restaurants and the Baton Rouge Beer Agency.

 

Eckhardt holds a BS and a MS from Louisiana State University.

 

Pete Carr states, “Sean brings a wealth of experience to this key position in Louisiana. His distribution experience, along with the relationships he has built from his prior years in Louisiana, is well suited to executing the aggressive business plans we have for DMH Louisiana.”

 

 

——

New Vice-President of Sales at Corby Distilleries

 

Source: CNW

April 2, 2013

 

Corby Distilleries Limited is pleased to announce the following move, effective as of July 1, 2013:

 

Andy Alexander, currently Vice-President of Sales at Corby Distilleries, has decided to retire from this position on July 1, 2013 after 13 years with the company and will leave Corby August 1 2013. “Andy has been an instrumental part of the success of Corby in the Canadian market and a hugely valued member of our Executive team, so while it was difficult for me to accept his decision, I have of course respected it,” said Patrick O’Driscoll, Corby’s Chief Executive Officer.

 

Andy will be replaced by Stéphane Côté, the current Director of Sales for Ontario, on July 1, 2013. Stéphane has been with Corby and Pernod Ricard for nine years, and for 24 years in the alcohol beverage industry. Stéphane’s extensive sales experience has covered seven provinces including Ontario, Québec, British Colombia and the Atlantics. “We are delighted to welcome Stéphane to the Executive team. Stéphane brings a wealth of experience and leadership that will allow us to continue seamlessly to implement our long-term vision and strategy,” commented Mr. O’Driscoll.

 

Stéphane, a native of Québec, will continue to remain in the company’s headquarters in Toronto and will work with Andy between now and the end of July to ensure a smooth transition. “I am excited and honoured to accept this new role and look forward to working closely with our trade partners across Canada to build on the sales success that Andy has brought to the company over the years,” said Mr. Côté.

 

Succession planning is a fundamental strategic pillar of Corby’s people strategy. “I am very pleased to see this strategy come to fruition in this key personnel move”, added Paul Holub, Vice-President of Human Resources.

 

 

——

SHADOW BEVERAGES AND SNACKS APPOINTS FORMER PEPSICO EXECUTIVE TO CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER

 

Source: Shadow Beverage

April 1, 2013

 

Shadow Beverages and Snacks recently appointed Bob Shafer as Chief Marketing Officer reporting directly to George Martinez, President, Shadow Beverages and Snacks. In this newly created position, Mr. Shafer will lead the company’s national brand and retail sales strategies while supporting key customer and distributor expansion plans.

 

Mr. Shafer brings 30 years of CPG experience to Shadow having started his career at Procter and Gamble in the food products division. After four years at P&G, Mr. Shafer moved to Pepsico, Inc. where he held various U.S. and international sales, marketing and general management roles for 28 years. Mr. Shafer started his PepsiCo career in the food service organization, delivering consistent results in sales and general management roles managing key Pepsi bottlers and customers in the Midwestern U.S. He then moved to PepsiCo’s international organization and led businesses in both Spain and Poland, directing the Polish business to profitability. Mr. Shafer returned to the U.S. and held headquarters’ leadership positions as Vice President of Marketing and Vice President of Retail Sales. He oversaw the development of annual operating plans and managed key national customers. Mr. Shafer retired from PepsiCo in March 2011.  

 

“Bob’s extensive career in the CPG industry is exemplary, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have him join our team in a significant leadership role,” said George Martinez, President, Shadow Beverages and Snacks. “Bob’s experience in successfully developing channel and customer strategies and creating annual operating plans for Pepsico will be a tremendous asset in accelerating Shadow’s growth in the nutritional and functional products space.”

 

 

——

Texas: Opinion: Myths invade arguments over Sunday liquor sales

 

Lobbyists would deny competition, patron convenience

 

Source: Chron

By David Ozgo

Ozgo is chief economist, Distilled Spirits Council based in Washington, D.C.

March 29, 2013

 

In any public policy debate there are myths and there are facts. The discussion surrounding House Bill 421, a bill to allow expanded hours for Texas package stores, including Sunday alcohol sales, is certainly no different.

 

Right now the main lobbying group that represents about one-third of liquor stores throughout Texas is circulating a “fact sheet” to legislators with a set of talking points that deserve a place in the mythology hall of fame. In the interest of public clarity, I’d like to explore a few of the lobbying group’s claims and report real facts on what Sunday sales would mean for Texans.

 

First, the package store lobby claims that advocates of HB 421 believe Sunday sales will increase liquor sales by 22 percent and cautions legislators to “Be careful: In Colorado [The Distilled Spirits Council] said that Sunday sales would increase tax revenues by $6 million, but the actual increase was a mere $2 million.”

 

Out of context, that may sound like we missed it. But consider, Colorado passed Sunday sales in 2008 – at the beginning of the worst recession in living memory – and that additional $2 million from Sunday alcohol sales was the only positive line item in the entire Colorado budget during that time. And that figure only took excise tax collections into account. When state excise and sales tax revenues are accounted for, Colorado generated new tax revenue exceeding the projected $6 million. Many in Colorado pointed to Sunday sales as a major success during that difficult time.

 

In fact, the Distilled Spirits Council has consistently projected sales gains for Sunday spirits sales in the 4 percent to 7 percent range. These projections are based upon historical experiences of Sunday sales in other states. We’ve been right every time.

 

Second, the package store lobby claims that Sunday purchases will cannibalize sales from other days of the week. This has not been the case in any other state.

 

In fact, some of the first adopters of Sunday sales have been states where the government owns and runs the liquor stores. In all cases, after a period of experimentation, public administrators, who had nothing to gain personally, sought legislative approval to open more stores on Sundays. These public administrators have no incentive to open Sundays except to generate additional revenue from increased consumer convenience.

 

Sunday sales as a policy works because today’s shoppers crave service and convenience. Sunday is the second-busiest shopping day of the week in Texas. Even an early survey by the package store lobby showed that 30 percent of their customers were interested in shopping on Sundays.

 

As a former Texas business owner myself, if I knew 30 percent of my customers wanted me open on Sundays, you can bet I’d be open.

 

Third, the package store lobby is concerned that if Texas were to reach the projected level of new “state tax revenue,” the “state tax revenue” divided up “per store” would not be enough to cover store overhead. Well, fortunately, this is an easy myth to clear up. You see, businesses do not cover overhead with state tax revenue. They cover overhead with sales revenue. More important, the decision of whether to open Sundays should be like any other business decision. Most important, this legislation would not force one single store to open on Sundays. Store owners are simply given the choice to open.

 

One thing is certain, however: Blocking all competition from opening is not the answer – and not the Texas way.

 

The package store lobby’s final concern is with a study that found car crashes rose sharply in New Mexico after Sunday sales passed. Again, this study has been widely discredited for several reasons, not the least of which is failing to account for a speed limit increase over the same time period. Researchers who follow Sunday sales debates understand this particular study is debunked. But New Mexico is only one state. Other studies have found no increase in underage drinking or drunk driving in states that adopted Sunday alcohol sales.

 

The public should not allow any organization’s myths to sully the debate. The bottom line is that HB 421 is about convenience, consumer sovereignty and economic fairness in the marketplace.

 

I think we can all raise a toast to that fact.

 

 

——

Tennessee: Wine bill stalls in Senate Finance Committee

 

Source: News 2

Apr 02, 2013

 

Legislation to allow wine to be sold in Tennessee supermarkets and convenience stores has hit another road block.

 

Members of the Senate Finance Committee voted 5-5 on Tuesday to keep the measure from advancing. The vote came after House leaders said they didn’t want to reconsider the companion bill that earlier failed by a single vote.

 

Republican Senate sponsor Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro has said he wants to get the bill out of the committee in case the situation changes in the House.

 

Both Republican and Democratic Senate members of the Republican-sponsored bill said they didn’t see a need for it to advance if the House doesn’t plan to bring it up again.

 

Ketron told reporters after the hearing that he’s not giving up on the bill and is checking to see if the committee can reconsider its action.

 

 

——

Maine: Wine – Distribution laws more than a little ridiculous (Excerpt)

 

Source: Press Herald

By JOE APPEL

Apr 3rd

 

I had a wonderful wine last weekend. Maybe you’ve had it, but I’m guessing you haven’t. Not because you don’t have impeccable taste, an open spirit or fat wallet. Not because it’s an older vintage cellared for years, not even because it’s made in such tiny quantities that you have to be on some velvet-rope mailing list to get a bottle.

 

No, you haven’t had this wine because you live in Maine, whose wine distribution channels are legally administered by the “three-tier system.” This is the arrangement, developed after Prohibition was repealed, which obligates producers to sell to distributors, who then sell to retailers (either “off-premise” shops or “on-premise” restaurants). In other words, the retailer can’t work out a deal directly with the winemaker.

 

In Maine, we call distributors “importers” and add a fourth tier of our own, the state-licensed distributor. (Whereas in New York, for instance, where I enjoyed the wonderful wine, the importer can sell directly to the retailer.) The official reason for this is a desire to be especially arcane and ridiculous, or to pry more revenue out of us. I forget which.

 

http://www.pressherald.com/life/foodanddining/distribution-laws-more-than-a-little-ridiculous_2013-04-03.html

 

 

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