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Categorized | General

Wine In The News


Trinchero Overhauls Sutter Home In Major Brand Revamp

Trinchero Family Estates has completed a major rebranding of Sutter Home, its largest wine label, with the new packaging starting to ship this month. Changes include a brighter color palette distinguishing Sutter Home’s lineup of 20 wines, a revamped crest, refreshed logo, refined foil borders, and a geometric pattern on the label bearing the differentiator, “Family Owned In The Napa Valley.”

One key alteration is the removal of the image of the Sutter Home Victorian house from the label in favor of a less cluttered design. The brand’s updated back labeling is specific to each varietal and includes a new “flavor profile bar,” which notes where the wine falls along the sweet-to-dry spectrum. The back label also touts the brand’s new tagline, “Share good times. Sutter Home.”


Australian Wine In New Effort To Diversify And Move Upscale

Humbled in recent years by the twin scourges of oversupply and a rising domestic currency that reduced returns on exports, Australia’s wine industry has been retrenching.

While individual producers have employed various measures to combat those headwinds—like shipping more branded wines in bulk and raising prices when possible—the industry is now collectively preparing a new push in the U.S. and other export markets. The new effort aims to show the breadth of Australia’s wine styles and price points, particularly at the higher end.


Wine Spectator: Worldwide Wine Auction Revenues Down Sharply In 2012

Wine Spectator reports that sales of fine and rare wine worldwide fell 19% in value from a record $478 million in 2011 to $389 million in 2012, according to figures released by the major commercial auction houses. This is the first decline since 2009, when markets were still struggling to emerge from the global financial crisis. This year, falling prices and fewer consignments in Hong Kong accounted for the slump in sales.

“Worldwide totals for 2012 are a reflection of the drop in prices overall, particularly for Château Lafite Rothschild and other first-growth Bordeaux, especially those from younger vintages,” said Richard Harvey, senior international director of Bonhams’ wine department.


Retailers Say Texas Wines Are Showing Rapid Growth

It’s not the first place that comes to mind when one refers to “wine country,” but Texas is the fifth-ranked state by wine production—after California, Washington, New York and Oregon—and retailers say the trend toward local food and wine is helping to galvanize consumer interest. According to the Texas Wine & Grape Growers trade group, the Lone Star State currently has more than 245 bonded wineries, up 50% since 2007, while production rose 35% to 1.35 million cases between 2007-2011.


Wine Spectator: Kurniawan Loses Bid to Exclude Counterfeiting Evidence

A federal judge has ruled that FBI agents acted properly when they searched the California home of accused wine counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan moments after arresting him last year, reports Wine Spectator. At a January 17 hearing in a New York courtroom, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman denied a motion by Kurniawan’s attorneys to exclude evidence found during the search. Kurniawan must now decide whether to go to trial or change his plea of not guilty.

It was seven years ago this month that Acker Merrall & Condit held an auction in New York based on Kurniawan’s cellar. Among the lots was a bottle of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti 1934 that sold for $12,925, a six-bottle lot of Roumier Bonnes Mares that sold for $28,955, and a 10-bottle lot of Château Cheval-Blanc 1947 that sold for $48,260. According to the indictment of Kurniawan, dated last May, all those wines were counterfeit.

Berman scheduled a conference with the lawyers for February 14 to determine what will happen next in the case. It appears that Kurniawan’s options are to go to trial or try and negotiate a plea bargain. Besides being charged with selling counterfeit wine, Kurniawan is also accused of schemes to defraud a finance company by falsifying his application for a $3 million loan, of double-pledging art works as collateral for additional loans from a New York auction house, and of attempting to defraud a California collector and the New York auction house. According to Kurniawan’s attorney, Michael Proctor, his client remains “strong and focused on his case.”


Wine Spectator: Latour’s Release Of Older Wines Gets Mixed Response

On March 19th, Bordeaux first growth Château Latour announced the release of three wines from past vintages, including Latour 1995, from the winery’s cellars. The sale is a model for how the estate will do business now that it is no longer participating in Bordeaux’s annual futures campaign. So far the response has ranged from measured enthusiasm to cold rejection, reports Wine Spectator. At least three major négociants—Duclot, Diva and Millesima—have refused their allocations.

The Médoc first-growth, owned by French businessman François Pinault, announced last April that it was abandoning the en primeur system starting with the 2012 vintage, and would only sell its wine once managers felt it was ready to drink. The March 19th release included approximately 1,000 cases of 1995 Château Latour at about $487 per bottle ex-château; it’s retailing for about $622. Latour also released allotments of second wine Les Forts de Latour 2005 and third wine Pauillac de Latour 2009.

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