SKY RANCH Honors Four at Hall of Fame Event

As many people involved in the beverage alcohol industry know, Sky Ranch for Boys is a 3,000-acre facility on the South Dakota/Montana border where troubled teens from across the U.S. get a second chance to improve their lives. Through teaching respect for themselves and others, sports, arts, working with animals and even learning to fly a small plane, Sky Ranch helps kids find their natural gifts and take pride in them. Most boys advance at least two years in the grade level of their academic work during a one-year stay. 04HOF_group

Celebrating at the 13th annual Sky Ranch Foundation Hall of Fame Dinner were (from left to right) Ralph Aguera, Foundation President; Malcolm Cutting, of Jim Beam Brands; Ray Norvell, of DeLuca Liquors, Las Vegas, NV; Suzanne Riga, of GreenÕs Beverages, Columbia, SC; Barry Becton, of Diageo; and George McCarthy, Foundation Chairman.

Since 1961, members and friends of the beverage alcohol industry have been helping to support Sky Ranch in many ways, including cash donations. Indeed, through the years Sky Ranch has come to be known as “the adopted charity of the beverage alcohol industry.” In total, more than $15 million has been raised to support this worthy cause since its inception.

In March, for the thirteenth consecutive year, the Sky Ranch Foundation hosted a Hall of Fame Dinner in Las Vegas, meant to honor the accomplishments of several members of the beverage alcohol industry. This year, the honorees included Barry Becton, director of trade & community relations, Diageo; Suzanne Riga, vice president, government & industry relations. Green’s Beverages. Columbia, SC; Ray Norvell, executive vice president, DeLuca Liquor and Wine Ltd., Las Vegas, NV; and Malcolm Cutting, senior purchasing agent, Jim Beam Brands.

In his remarks to the attendees (230 guests, the largest number of participants since the event was held in Boston in 1997), Sky Ranch Foundation Chairman George McCarthy emphasized the tremendous work that WAABI (World Association of the Alcohol Beverage Industries) has done. Using a network of volunteers from all tiers and segments of the industry, the organization has been responsible for collecting more than $100,000 annually for several years, McCarthy said.


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Lucio Caputo (right), chairman of the European Wine Council, honored Harriet Lembeck, wine and spirits educator and journalist, with its Educator of the Year Award March 10 at its annual Gala at Le Cirque 2000. The European Wine Ambassador’s Award, given each year to a wine retailer, was given this year to Sam’s Wines & Spirits of Chicago. Todd Hess, wine director, accepted the award for Darryl Rosen, co-owner of Sam’s.


The 50th anniversary of Maker’s Mark was cause for celebration at Allied Domecq Spirits, NA headquarters in Westport, CT, with a party for Allied Domecq staffers. Bill Samuels, president of Maker’s Mark Distillery, regaled the group with stories about the origins of the company and the brand’s success.


The California Department of Food and Agriculture announced in its Preliminary Grape Crush Report that California vintners crushed 2.94 million tons of wine grapes from the 2003 harvest, which was down 5% from the 3.1 million tons in 2002. Challenging winegrowing weather was the major reason given for the falloff in grape production, though some say that was augmented by the thousands of vine acres that have been removed in the last few years.

Red wine varieties accounted for the largest share of the total crush, at 1.64 million tons, which was down 10% from 2002. White wine varieties totaled 1.30 million tons, up 1% from 2002. Among all wine varieties, Chardonnay was again the leader, with about one-fifth of the total volume, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon, French Colombard, Zinfandel and Merlot.

According to some observers, the well-documented excess wine inventories in California are beginning to ease because of the relatively light crop combined with increasing domestic and international sales.


Allied Domecq Spirits, North America appointed Simon Hunt as senior vp of marketing. He was previously senior vp of innovation for Allied Domecq Spirits and Wines, PLC, where he developed and launched 25 new products, including Stoli Cranberi, Stoli Citros, Tia Lusso, Kuya Fusion Rum, Malibu Pineapple Flavor Rum and Malibu Mango Flavor Rum… Pernod Ricard USA has launched Seagram’s Orange Twisted Gin and Seagram’s Gin & Juice Cranberry and Seagram’s Gin & Juice Green Dragon with GinsengWarsteiner Importers Agency, Inc. announces the appointment of Dave Gronostaj to president, U.S. operations, effective immediately. Gronostaj was previously director of finance and human resources for the company… Vini Fabiano from the Veneto and Dezzani Wines from Piemonte have both named House of Stock Fine Wines as their exclusive U.S. importer… The full line of Pepi wines, a part of Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates, has been re-tooled to include Stelvin screw caps; in addition, the company is adding a Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon to its already existing portfolio of Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Sangiovese, all selling for suggested retail prices of under $10


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