This Week In Wine 8/7/11





Fiji water’s owners buy Sonoma’s Landmark Vineyards

Fiji Water’s owners announced this week the company’s second California winery acquisition in less than a year.
Fiji Water and parent company Roll Global are buying Sonoma’s Landmark Vineyards, known for high-quality Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah (a winery featured on this website). The deal includes the winery, inventory and an 11-acre vineyard. The sale price was not disclosed. In December, Roll Global purchased its first wine property—Justin Winery in Paso Robles.
"I’m sure it will be gut-wrenching in certain ways, but very liberating in other ways," said Landmark-owner Mike Colhoun. "[The sale] was a good fit for us because we have two children that aren’t in the wine business. We had no exit strategy."

Click here to read the full story.

My Thoughts

This was kind of a shock! If you caught my previous feature on Landmark Vineyards, you’ll know that they make some of the best wines in Sonoma.
I wish Mike and Mary Colhoun the best, and hope that the purchase doesn’t compromise the integrity of the brand they have worked so hard to build.


penfolds-grangePenfolds Grange denies setting minimum retail price

Treasury Wine Estates CEO David Dearie has strongly denied Penfolds will set a minimum price for Grange, and that he had been quoted out of context. Penfolds Grange can sell between $200-$500 a bottle, depending on the vintage.

In an interview with The Drinks Business, Dearie was quoted as saying ‘Next year we will set a minimum price [for Grange] and you must hit that minimum price or you won’t get an allocation.’

Click here to read the full story.

My Thoughts

Call me crazy, but I don’t think price fixing is always a bad thing, and I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more in the wine industry. Brands such as Rolex regularly pull their brand from jewelry stores which don’t meet their individual terms and minimum selling price. I don’t see any reason why wine brands should be any different, if they so choose.


Gilt Groupe’s policy on upcoming wine sales leaving behind a sour taste

Gilt Taste, the high-end food site operated by the Gilt Groupe, is preparing to launch a wine program that has some people in the industry feeling sour.
According to the marketing terms, Gilt is asking wineries and other suppliers to agree to a 12-month exclusive if they choose to feature their products on the site. Gilt Taste is expected to start selling wine in August.

The exact wording reads:
Seller agrees that for the Term of this Agreement, and for twelve (12) months following the Term, it will not enter into any similar agreement with a Direct Competitor or create its own flash sale site for the marketing of wine. “Direct Competitor” means a company similarly situated to Agent that is in the business of conducting online marketing via a flash sale model, including, but not limited to, Rue La La, One Kings Lane, HauteLook, Lot18, inVino and ideeli.
Based on the wording, Gilt is not specifying that a certain bottle of wine is excluded from appearing on other sites, but rather that the winery or distributor is prohibited from doing any business at all with any other flash sales sites.
Click here to read the full story.

My Thoughts

With wine “Flash Sale” sites popping up all over the place, I don’t see why Gilt’s terms and conditions are such a big deal. If you don’t like it, choose someone else!
Not hugely dissimilar to websites such as Groupon and Living Social, I think wine flash sale websites are a double-edged sword. Maybe they’re ok as a short-term promo to help bring attention to a brand, or help sell off a particular wine which isn’t moving. But as part of a long-term marketing initiative, I deem them to do more harm than good.

Charles Krug

Search begins for oldest Charles Krug bottle

In time for the 150th anniversary of Napa Valley’s first winery, the Peter Mondavi Sr. Family announces a search for the oldest Charles Krug Winery bottle in existence. Founded in 1861, Charles Krug Winery is the birthplace of the Napa Valley wine industry and has been in the Peter Mondavi Family for nearly 70 of its 150 years.

Wine enthusiasts are encouraged to scour their wine cabinets, cellars, closets and caves for Charles Krug wine bottles, empty or full, dating either from pre-Prohibition or the Peter Mondavi Family era which began with the 1944 vintage. Bottles deemed contenders will be authenticated by experts in the wine department of Sotheby’s auction house in New York. The Peter Mondavi Family may purchase the winning bottle for display at the winery.

Click here to read the full story.

My Thoughts

I once went a family-gathering, where the hostess (some 70+ years old) after hearing that I’m a “wine aficionado”, proceeded to start rummaging under her kitchen sink, and pull out a bottle of 30 year old Beaujolais Nouveau which she had been saving for a special occasion. The dark brown liquid in the bottle had almost certainly turned to vinegar (probably some 29 years earlier), and so I politely declined the opportunity to taste, fearing that if I did, I would probably end the night with my head wrapped around the S-bend of her toilet. However; maybe I should have looked a little harder in her “under-the-sink collection” to see if she had some Charles Krug hiding away!


Chemicals in wine could be used to protect skin from the sun

Chemicals found in wine and grapes could be used to protect skin from sun damage, according to a new study.

Ultraviolet (UV) rays emitted by the sun are the leading environmental cause of skin complaints, premature ageing, sun burn and skin cancer. Spanish scientists found evidence suggesting that substances in grapes protect cells from the damage.
Already cosmetic companies are registering interest in the hope of making sun creams or pills that copy the process.The University of Barcelona and the Spanish National Research Council looked at the chemical reaction in the skin when hit by UV rays from the sun. They found that flavonoids in the grapes can stop the chemical reaction that causes cells to die and therefore skin damage.

Click here to read the full story.

My Thoughts

Once again: what can’t wine do!?!?! Saying that, I think I’ll need a little more convincing before I forego my SPF30, and ask my wife to wife to rub Merlot on my back!

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