Order Beer from Your Smartphone, Delivered by Drone

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


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Twelve hundred bottles from France’s presidential wine cellar will be up for auction at the end of May, according to a statement released by French auction house Drouot. The wines for sale are primarily from Burgundy and Bordeaux. Proceeds from the sale will fund a smaller wine collection, with surplus funds aiding France’s budget.

Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) announced the appointment of Stephen Brauer to the role of President and CEO, Pasternak Wine Imports, effective May 20. Formerly a senior executive with Seagram Chateau & Estates, Pernod Ricard USA and Treasury Wine Estates, Brauer brings 20 years of experience to the role. He replaces Jim Galtieri, the founder of Pasternak Wine Imports, who will continue to serve on the Pasternak Board and will also serve as Special Advisor to the Chairman.

One of Napa Valley’s most historic wineries, Mayacamas Vineyards, has been purchased by a team including wine venture capitalist Charles Banks, former owner of Screaming Eagle and Jonata Wines. The terms and conditions of the purchase have not been disclosed. Read Steve Heimoff's interview with Banks about the acquisition >>>

Budweiser unveiled a new cup that will improve its social media interaction with customers. Dubbed “The Buddy Cup,” it contains a chip on the bottom that can be linked to your Facebook page. Once you’ve activated this feature using the cup’s special code, you can automatically become Facebook friends with whomever you toast. The Buddy Cup is still in its prototype phase, though Budweiser has rolled it out in Brazil.

During August's OppiKoppi Music Festival in South Africa, festival goers can order beers from their phones, delivered via drones. The drones will find the customers in the crowd and drop their boozy deliveries using parachutes. Though the drones are currently hand-guided, organizers say that they'll fly on a GPS grid in the future. Unfortunately drones for commercial use are still illegal in the US. The Federal Aviation Administration will regulate the technology by 2015.

The E! Network is currently developing a show following the winemaking celebs of Sonoma Valley. Called Young Sonoma, the current cast list features Mike and Kate Benzinger, Danny and Collette Fay, Vallerie and Tasha Cohn and former Bachelor Ben Flajnik (pictured, right). According to E!, “The series goes inside the day-to-day drama that comes from living in a small town, working with friends and family, as well as being local and national celebrities.” There is no projected premiere date yet, but it should pair well with an inoffensive boxed wine. 

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