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Wine In The News

 

 

Champagne sales fell 4.4% by volume for the 12 months through December, to just under 309 million bottles, according to the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) trade group. Revenues, meanwhile, were stagnant at around €4.37 billion ($5.86b). The volume drop was largely attributed to a sharp decline in European sales, with French shipments down 5.6% and European Union shipments outside France down 7.1%. France accounts for 56% of global Champagne shipments, while other E.U. countries account for another 25%. Established markets like Japan and Australia and emerging markets like China, Russia, Mexico and Nigeria were bright spots for bubbly last year. Over 2012’s first half, Champagne shipments to the U.S. were down 16% by value and 25% by volume.

 

France’s Perrin family has reportedly partnered with actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie to release Miraval, a vintage rosé offering. The Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah and Rolle blend is named for Provence’s Château Miraval, the 1,000-acre winery purchased by Pitt and Jolie in 2011. According to media reports, the Perrin family has been handling production of Château Miraval’s wines since last year, via an equal profit-sharing agreement with the celebrity couple. In addition to the debut rosé, which will retail at around $28 in the U.S., the Miraval range is slated to add a white wine this summer and reds later this year. The Perrin family, owners of the Rhône Valley’s Château de Beaucastel estate, also produces La Vieille Ferme, Famille Perrin, Domaine du Clos de Tourelles and Château de Beaucastel labels, all handled by Vineyard Brands in the U.S. market.

 

Antonio Galloni, formerly lead critic for The Wine Advocate, is striking out on his own with a new “multimedia, technology-driven platform,” AntonioGalloni.com. On the new site, he plans to continue his reporting on the Italy, Champagne, California and Burgundy beats he covered at The Wine Advocate, while expanding into other regions as well. Prior to joining The Wine Advocate in 2006, Galloni founded his own quarterly, Piedmont Report, in 2004. The Wine Advocate founder Robert Parker announced in December that he had agreed to sell a “substantial interest” in the publication to a group of three Singapore-based investors, but would remain chairman and CEO.

 

Trinchero Family Estates is planning a $300 million expansion of its Lodi, California-based West Side Winery. The three-year project will include the addition of a new, high-speed bottling line and automated warehouse racking system. The changes will accommodate growing Trinchero’s capacity to up to 30 million cases. Trinchero currently produces around 20 million cases a year.  Until recently, all of Trinchero’s grapes were processed at the company’s St. Helena headquarters, as well as via custom crush partners. The West Side Winery expansion will significantly improve Trinchero’s access to Lodi, where it sources grapes for brands such as Sutter Home, Ménage à Trois, Trinity Oaks, Wine Cube and Joel Gott, among others.

 

California’s grape crush hit a record of 4.38 million tons in 2012, according to recently-released data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The increase was a 13% rise on 2011’s 3.87 million tons and a 1% increase on 2005’s previous record high. Red wine grapes accounted for the largest share of grapes crushed, up 19% from 2011 to 2.29 million tons, while white wine grapes rose 21%, to 1.72 million tons. The 2012 average price for all varieties, meanwhile, increased 24% to hit a high of $734.35 per ton, with red wine grape and white wine grape averages totaling $879.04 and $623.50 per ton, respectively.

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