News and notes from the world of wine.
Effective April 1, 2012, California’s E. & J. Gallo Winery will have the sole rights to distribute the wines of Tuscany’s Brancaia estate in the United States. The Brancaia portfolio includes Brancaia Tre, a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon; Brancaia Chianti Classico; Brancaia Ilatraia, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Petite Verdot; and Brancaia Il Blu, a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
According to F. Korbel & Bros. President and Owner Gary Heck and Banfi Vintners Chief Operating Officer Marc Goodrich, Banfi has signed a letter of intent to acquire Sonoma’s Kenwood Vineyards from Korbel. Scheduled for a June 2012 closing, the deal would include Kenwood’s estate, vineyards, winery and all related assets. If the acquisition is finalized, it will mark Banfi’s first venture into California. Read the full story here.
The Craft Brew Alliance (CBA) plans to release a gluten-free beer named Omission later this spring. The new brew is made using traditional beer ingredients—including malted barley, hops, yeast and water—but undergoes a brewing process that reduces gluten levels below the internationally recognized gluten-free standard. Omission will be brewed at Portland, Oregon’s Widmer Brothers Brewing facility, and will first be available in Oregon on April 2.
President Barack Obama announced his decision to suspend Argentina from the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) trade benefits program, which formerly exempted Argentina from export duties on thousands of goods, including wine. The decision was based on the Argentinean government’s failure to pay more than $300 million in court-ordered damages to two United States companies—Houston, Texas’s water-services company Azurix Corp. and the Bank of America subsidiary Blue Ridge Investment. According to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Argentina’s payment of the damages would allow the South American country to be reconsidered for GSP eligibility. This marks the first time a country has been suspended from the GSP over an arbitration award.
Terlato Wines International (TWI) has partnered with East Meets West Fine Wines, a Shanghai-based distributor, to bring TWI’s premium wine portfolio to China. Distribution will be targeted at key wine-consuming cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Tianjin.