FYI News, Notes and Trends

6810FYI3Australia In California

* One of Australia’s major wine producers, Mildara Blass, has launched a new line of premium California wines called Bayliss & Fortune. The 1997 vintage of the chardonnay, merlot and zinfandel have all just been released, and the brand’s cabernet will be released early next year.

The wines are all produced with grapes from California’s Central Coast/Salinas Valley areas; however, the entire operation is being overseen by two of Australia’s top winemakers, David O’Leary and Adam Marks, according to the company. Their goal is to use their classical Australian approach to winemaking in conjunction with quality California grapes. Suggested retail prices for the Bayliss & Fortune wines are between $12 and $15 per 750 ml bottle.

Sebastiani Restructures

* To more efficiently conduct its business, Sebastiani Vineyards has partitioned the company into three divisions. Sebastiani Sonoma Cask Cellars will be the only division retaining the Sebastiani family name, and will be dedicated to producing top-quality varietals from the Sonoma appellation under the Sebastiani Sonoma Cask label.

The second division, Turner Road Vintners, is based in Woodbridge, CA, and will be responsible for production at Vendange Wine Cellars and Nathanson Creek Cellars, soon to be operational. Among this division’s popular brands are Heritage, Talus, Vendange, La Terre and Nathanson Creek.

Finally, Sonoma-based Humphrey & Brown International Wine Marketers will handle the sales, marketing and distribution functions for both Sebastiani Sonoma Cask Cellars and Turner Road Vintners.


“This corporate revamp should streamline our operations and provide the strategic focus essential for future growth,” explained Sebastiani Vineyards ceo Don Sebastiani.

Business Briefs

* According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, alcohol-related traffic deaths among young people declined 5% in 1997… Waltham, MA-based Fischer Beverages International was appointed U.S. importer for Moretti and La Rossa Italian beers… The Parliament Wine Co. was named U.S. importer for the Italian wines of Vigneti Fantinel… These promotions at Canandaigua Brands: Alexander Berk becomes chief executive officer and president of Barton, Inc. (Canandaigua’s beer, and spirits division), and Daniel Barnett becomes chief executive officer and president of the Canandaigua Wine Company, Inc., the company’s wine division… Gregory M. Evans was appointed coo at Robert MondaviJohn L. Belsito was named president of the Royal Crown Company and senior vice president of the Triarc Beverage Group… Todd M. Griffith was appointed director of marketing at Paterno Imports.

Hiram Walker, Domecq Importers Combine

* Hiram Walker, of Southfield, MI, and Domecq Importers, of Old Greenwich CT, the two spirits national marketing and sales companies for Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine in the U.S., are restructuring into a newly formed company called Allied Domecq Spirits, USA, effective November 15, 1998. Martin Jones, current president of Domecq Importers, will head the new operation.

With the realignment of the administrative, sales and marketing functions of the two companies, Allied Domecq Spirits, USA, hopes to improve efficiencies and maximize sales and profits for its, core brands, which include Canadian Club, Beefeater, Kahlúa, Sauza, Courvoisier and Maker’s Mark, among others.

Senior management appointments at the new company include Ron Johnson, executive vp, sales development; Bob Shea, executive vp, alliance operations and special markets; Keith Bollinger, senior vp, finance; Emmanuel Biundo, senior vp, operations; and Chris Bounds, senior vp, strategic planning.

The new corporate headquarters will eventually be located in Fairfield, CT, while four regional offices will be opened in the New York metropolitan area, South Florida, Chicago and Southern California to manage the regional sales and marketing efforts for the company.

Meanwhile, The Wine Alliance will change its name to Allied Domecq Wines, USA, to more closely align itself with Allied Domecq’s corporate identity.

Beer Shoppers Respond

* As all beer companies do, Miller Brewing conducts a variety of different types of consumer surveys throughout the year to try to understand what motivates customers to buy beer in general and their brands specifically. Recently, Miller shared with us the results of several “Consumer Insights” surveys. The one reproduced here is part of a program called “Consumer Beer Purchaser Intercepts,” whereby people who purchase beer at different outlets are randomly interviewed on high-volume beer traffic days. In this case, the shoppers were asked, “Was the purchase of beer the primary reason you came to shop here today?” The results below reflect the percentage of beer shoppers who answered, “yes,” in each type of outlet.

6810FYI1The 13th annual Evan Williams Cooking With Bourbon competition, sponsored by Heaven Hill Distilleries, named its winner, Ken Nicoulin (center), of Louisville, at the Kentucky State Fair recently. Nicoulin’s first place recipe was “Beef Medallions with Evan Williams Cream.” On hand from Heaven Hill were (from left) Larry Kass, group marketing manager; Harry J. Shapira, vice president; Max L. Shapira, president; and Kentucky State Fair official Jane Cave.


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