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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…

The Alcohol Industry Mourns Dave Pickerell

It is with heavy hearts we report Dave Pickerell, the much-loved master distiller behind such icon brands like Maker’s Mark, Whistlepig and Ragged Branch has died. Dave was a distilling legend, a bourbon & whiskey rock star and a teacher to all who loved whiskey. He was a luminary in the world of whiskey, and is widely known as the nation’s preeminent distiller. He was the the master distiller at Maker’s Mark for 14 years. He left in 2008 to become a consultant for the craft-distilling movement. In 2009, he helped create and was appointed Master Distiller at WhistlePig—a single estate farm distillery in Vermont…

Karen Maley Is New GM, Robert Young Estate

Karen Maley has been named General Manager, Robert Young Estate Winery. “We are delighted to welcome Ms. Maley to the winery and look forward to her contributions to our future growth,” said Jim Young, CEO, Robert Young. “Ms. Maley’s leadership, marketing and general management experience are an ideal combination to continue to build  upon recent investments and focus in hospitality and winemaking,” Young added. “I am honored to join the Young family in the evolution of this historic premium estate winery,” Maley said.

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…

Distilled Spirits Council Gets New President

The Boards of Directors of the Distilled Spirits Council and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.Org) have named Chris R. Swonger, a long-time government affairs executive and industry veteran, the president and CEO of both organizations. The move is designed to more closely align the missions and activities of the two groups following a strategic review process that set out ambitious plans for the future of both organizations while identifying shared value opportunities to amplify the impact of their collective work.

Gloria Rivera Joins Silverado Vineyards As Northeast District Sales Manager

Silverado Vineyards has appointed Gloria Rivera as Northeast District Sales Manager.  Reporting to Pamela Ford, Sales Director, East, she will be responsible for sales management for the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia. “We are very excited to have Gloria join Silverado Vineyards as an integral part of the U.S. Wholesale Sales Team,” explains Pamela Ford. “Gloria brings a wealth of wine knowledge and wholesale…

Michael Brown On Taking Back CIRQ

CIRQ, the winery created in 2009 by renowned pinot noir winemaker and Kosta Browne founder Michael Browne, has kicked off a new chapter with his own estate winery in the heart of the Russian River Valley. The winery, which has made some of the most beloved pinots in the region over the last decade, moves forward under Browne’s sole leadership, a big deal for the winemaker and consumers alike. “Taking back CIRQ has profound meaning for me,” says Browne. “Launching this brand paid respect to both my family’s colorful…

Jen Yuengling Flies Red, White And Blue For Veterans

Today Yuengling’s Jen Yuengling, sixth generation brewer of America’s Oldest Brewery will make a mark for Team Red, White & Blue, a nonprofit dedicated to enriching the lives of veterans through physical and social activity, as a partner for its Lagers for Heroes program that supports active military, veterans and their families. In celebration of the partnership, Jen is participating in Team RWB’s 5th Annual Old Glory Relay, a 4,300-mile journey where veterans and supporters carry the flag across America to honor and connect those who served our country.

Maison Perrier-Jouët Cellar Master Passes Baton After 35 Years

Maison Perrier-Jouët announced the upcoming arrival of Séverine Frerson, who will be working alongside Hervé Deschamps, the Maison’s Cellar Master, who is preparing for his succession after 35 years at the Maison. Hervé Deschamps arrived at Maison Perrier-Jouët in 1983. A decade later, he became the seventh Cellar Master since the Maison was founded over 200 years ago. As a guardian of Perrier-Jouët’s style, he has maintained the floral and…

Conor McGregor Launches Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Champion and one of the world’s most iconic athletes, Conor McGregor, has Launched Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey with Eire Born Spirits. Available in Ireland and the United States, Proper No. Twelve’s global launch expression is a blend of golden grain and single malt. Twelve is complex and sophisticated yet smooth and approachable with hints of vanilla, honey and toasted wood. “I come from a place called Crumlin, in Dublin 12. It’s a place dear to my heart…

Similar Nonconformists? Rabble Wine Co. And Jennifer Jones of Albertsons/Safeway

“It’s an interesting time for wine,” says Jennifer Jones, Vice President, Alcohol for Albertsons/Safeway, and recipient of the Bonfort’s 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award. “Domestic sales are steady,” she adds. “Consumers want a new experience, a unique label and to be introduced to new names in winemaking.”Jennifer has earned a reputation as a proactive and trusted advisor and leader on the teams she runs. During her career…

MillerCoors On Albertsons/Safeway’s Jennifer Jones: Unorthodox, Creative, Strategic

“Jennifer Jones stands out as a leader in our industry because she is constantly working to gain a competitive advantage. She has an uncanny ability to embrace unorthodox thinking and find creative solutions to any issue or challenge,” so says Shannon Bennett, Team Lead Albertsons Companies at MillerCoors. Jennifer Jones, Vice President Alcohol Sales at Albertsons/Safeway will receive the first Bonfort’s Lifetime Achievement Award on September 14th for outstanding performance in alcohol retailing, and MillerCoors thinks that sounds about right.

Bounty Hunter’s Blake Van Treese Joins Last Bottle Wines

Blake Van Treese has joined Napa-based Last Bottle Wines as the company continues to expand its offerings amid steady growth. “Blake’s skills in wine buying, marketing, and management, along with and deep roots in the Valley are a perfect complement to how we acquire and sell wine,” said co-owner Cory Wagner of Last Bottle, “And we are excited to have him with us as we launch our newest venture.”

Beach Whiskey Makes Four Major New Hires

The Beach Whiskey Company has announced four new major hires. “We continue to be encouraged by the response to Beach Whiskey and American Harvest Organic Vodka from retailers, distributors and consumers,” said Chuck Trout, CEO of the Beach Whiskey Company. “As a result of our success with national chains in the on- and off-premise, we’ve expanded our sales leadership and are thrilled to announce three new additions to the Beach Whiskey Company team.”

Steven Grasse Is At It Again

Spirits maverick Steven Grasse (creator of the Hendrick’s Gin brand), and his Tamworth Distilling and Mercantile team are on a mission to make the newly launched Old Hampshire Applejack Whiskey the official state spirit of New Hampshire. With a TV campaign across television, radio, print and digital media proposing Old Hampshire Applejack as the official New Hampshire state spirit…