6.5 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Marlborough Wine Region

Plus other news and notes from the world of wine, spirits and beer.


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An earthquake struck Marlborough, New Zealand Sunday afternoon, affecting several of the region’s wineries. Philip Gregan, chief executive for New Zealand Winegrowers, told The Drinks Business that nobody was hurt in the 6.5 magnitude quake. Loveblock owner Kim Crawford reportedly lost nearly $40,000 worth of Sauvignon Blanc when a 40,000-liter tank crashed to the ground. Officials are warning residents of aftershocks throughout Marlborough.

David Edward Sinegal—son of Costco co-founder and former CEO James Sinegal—purchased St. Helena’s historic Inglewood Estate, including the vineyard and winery, for approximately $20 million. According to an application filed with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the new owner will do business as the Sinegal Family Estate. The property was most recently Wolf Family Vineyards and before that, Jaeger Family Estate.

In celebration of Martini’s 150th anniversary, parent company Bacardi is promoting a number of initiatives highlighting the brand's history. Martini's sparkling wines (Prosecco, Asti and Rosé) will receive a new look, featuring a "heritage crest" emphasizing the brand's founding in 1863. In addition, a limited edition Martini vermouth, dubbed Gran Lusso (Grand Luxury), is being released to mark the occasion. The Moscato-based, single-batch Gran Lusso is inspired by a 1904 recipe from Martini’s archives.

Master Distiller Emeritus Elmer T. Lee, 93, passed away on July 16 after a short illness. In 1984, Lee introduced Blanton’s, the world’s first single-barrel Bourbon, and though he retired in 1985, he garnered accolades for his expertise for years to come. This includes his induction into the Bourbon Hall of Fame in 2001, the Lifetime Achievement Award from Whisky Advocate in 2002, and the Lifetime Achievement Award and Hall of Fame induction from Whisky Magazine in 2012.

Manhattan’s 230 FIFTH Rooftop Bar & Penthouse Lounge is slinging what they claim is the world’s most expensive frozen margarita. At $1,200, the Frozen Fifth Avenue is made with 1800 Coleccion Extra Añejo Tequila 2010 Limited Release, which fetches $1,800 a bottle; Quintessence Grand Marnier ($800/bottle); and ice made from Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne ($450/bottle). While these super-premium ingredients cost a pretty penny, the Frozen Fifth Avenue’s price tag also reflects a $600 donation to the charity of the purchaser’s choice.

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