Insider Recon

Bonfort’s Top 100 Wineries 2019

Bonfort’s has ranked the 100 most powerful individuals and trends in the U.S. wine industry for 2018. The inaugural list ranks at #1 the global co-wine buyers from Amazon.com/Whole Foods, Doug Bell and Geof Ryan as the most powerful individuals in the U.S. wine industry. Other notables include, #3 Ernest J. Gallo, and #15 Alejandro Bulgheroni. Notable trends include, #4 Legal Marijuana and #16 Private Equity. All of the people and trends on the list have tremendous industry power and influence, and a direct impact…

What 8 Years in the Desert Really Represents

When Dave Phinney sold Prisoner Wine to Huneeus Vintners in 2010, the $40 million deal included a non-compete clause prohibiting the winemaker to work with that grape on other brands for eight years. Huneeus grew the Zinfandel-based red blend brand further and later sold it to Constellation Brands for a whopping $285. Over the those clause-cluttered eight years, Phinney wasted no time. Since The Prisoner sale he has created and sold his conceptual Locations Wine for a non-disclosed amount, as well as the Orin Swift brand–both to Gallo, and he remains the winemaker on both labels. Phinney also launched Savage & Cooke Distillery on Mare Island, off the coast of San Francisco…

Who Are the Most Powerful Players in the Wine Industry Today?

Bonfort’s has ranked the 100 most powerful individuals and trends in the U.S. wine industry for 2018. The inaugural list ranks at #1 the global co-wine buyers from Amazon.com/Whole Foods, Doug Bell and Geof Ryan as the most powerful individuals in the U.S. wine industry. Other notables include, #3 Ernest J. Gallo, and #15 Alejandro Bulgheroni. Notable trends include, #4 Legal Marijuana and #16 Private Equity. All of the people and trends on the list have tremendous industry power and influence, and a direct impact on how wine is bought and sold in the U.S.

The Somm’s Role in Building Relationships: Granville’s Christina Sherwood

New Jersey-born Christina Sherwood is the wine director at Granville Restaurants. The group spans locations in Studio City, Burbank, Glendale and West Hollywood, all located in California. We met Christina in the West Hollywood, Los Angeles location where the group was hosting a reminder for press of just how fantastic its food, wine, cocktail and beer menus are. Christina is a Certified Silver Pin Sommelier (North American Sommelier Association), since 2016 and much like the restaurant in which we met her…

Premium Spirits Spur Massive Growth

According to the Distilled Spirits Council, sales continue the dramatic upward trend with a record eighth consecutive gain of market share — capturing 36.2 percent of revenue compared to beer and wine. Distilled spirits supplier revenue is up four percent over 2016 driven largely by high-end and super premium spirits products. Consumers are embracing the cocktail scene with the innovation and experimentation that spirits invite. This trend is not just evident in the United States — U.S. spirits, particularly American…

Southern Glazer’s Corporate Training Now Includes French Wine Scholar Program

Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, the largest wine and spirits distributor in North America, has adopted the Wine Scholar Guild’s French Wine Scholar study & certification program to train its employees on the wines of France. Currently, 23 Southern Glazer’s employees have earned the FWS title and post-nominal with 140 more mid-study. “France is one of the most important wine-producing countries on earth,” states Eric Hemer, MW, MS, Senior Vice President and Corporate Director of Wine, Southern Glazer’s.

Artisanal Brewers Collective’s Noah Regnery Says “Be Authentic”

The on-premise business is not an easy one. Occasionally, however, we meet serial success restaurateurs and can’t help but wonder what they’re doing that others are not.  Among LA’s newest arrivals are Cornwall-themed English pub, The Stalking Horse Brewery & Freehouse, on Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles, and spacious urban, light-filled 6th & La Brea, located in the epicenter of Los Angeles. Artisanal Brewers Collective, the group which launched these two brewery…

How The Brands You Stock Connect With Consumers

So many alcohol brands, and so little shelf space. How is a brand to break through the clutter, grab the consumer and make a connection? Natasha Swords, Bonfort’s Editor in Chief reports. From a retailer point of view, it’s important to understand the overall process of brand marketing. Next time a big brand asks you for more space behind the bar, or better positioning near the cash register…

Lucid Absinthe Cocktail Classic Finalists’ Names Released

The United States Bartenders’ Guild together with Lucid Absinthe Supérieure have announced the selection of the five finalists in the 2018 Cocktail Classique, a national mixology competition which has sought to identify the talent behind the most creative cocktails using Lucid Absinthe.  Each of the finalists topped ten other competitors to win their regional semi-finals, held this year during March – July, and will journey to the Finals in New Orleans on August 20, 2018.

Copper Cane’s Joe Wagner Says Just “Go With Your Palate”

Bonfort’s Editor-in-Chief, Natasha Swords talked to Joe Wagner, possibly the industry’s most trail-blazing personality, about his most recent venture, Copper Cane Wine & Provisions. After his sale of Pinot Noir brand, Meomi for $315 million, Joe quickly created Copper Cane, a luxury brand collective that focuses on decadence. Steeped in family winemaking history, Joe is that perfect, accidental balance of depth of tradition and knowledge matched with an inherent compulsion

Millennial Drinkers Get their “Woodstock” in Brooklyn

We Baby Boomers learned all about wine in our immediate post-drinking-age years. We helped create a “wine culture” in America, in which you’d darn well better know the difference between a Napa Valley Chardonnay, and the same grape variety as grown in Chablis….or why the tricky harvest of 1964 in Bordeaux created successful wines at some properties, poor wines at others.  Cocktails? The old folks had them sometimes…as in “screwdrivers,” or vodka with orange juice. And that was about it, for then. But…..Apres ça…le deluge.

Celebrity Branding Is Shortest Path To Shelf Space

What do George Clooney, David Beckham, Bob Dylan, Matthew McConaughey, Jay Z, Ryan Reynolds, Drake, Connor McGregor, Darius Rucker, Channing Tatum and at least a dozen more celebrities have in common?  They’ve each matched their own branding to hard liquor. Ben Woo is based in Los Angles as managing director with global business strategy firm, RedSky Insights.

Master Distiller Chris Morris’s Newest Inspiration is Steeped in Kentucky Tradition

The only problem any master distiller could find with a brand like Woodford Reserve is, well, that’s it’s as close to perfect as you can get. So, what’s left to discuss you ask, and quite rightly? The problem is that if you’re adding to the brand’s portfolio then every addition must also, then, be perfect, or what’s the point? And define perfect? This writer’s perfect may not be your …