Santa Ynez, California-based Grassini Family Vineyards and Winery appointed Andrew Levi winemaker. Levi graduated from University of California, Davis, in 1999 with a degree in viticulture and enology and has worked for several wineries including Napa Valley’s Trefethen Family Vineyards and Dry Creek Valley’s Ferrari-Carano Vineyards & Winery as well as Clos des Jacobins and Château La Commanderie in St.-Émilion.
The Washington State Wine Commission announced the appointment of Steve Warner as executive director effective March 12, 2012. Prior to joining the commission, Warner was managing director at Merck & Co., Inc., a global health care leader.
Alison Frichtl of Napa Valley’s HALL winery has been promoted from oenologist to assistant winemaker. Prior to joining HALL in 2008, Frichtl earned a B.S. in biology from the University of Puget Sound. She has also worked at such Napa Valley wineries as Etude Wines and Merryvale Vineyards.
California’s Jackson Family Wines purchased the celebrated Hickinbotham Vineyard at Clarendon in South Australia’s McLaren Vale wine region. Known for its Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Shiraz grapes, the Hickinbotham Vineyard has supplied grapes for such acclaimed wineries as Clarendon Hills, Hardys and Penfolds.
The 2012 Naples Winter Wine Festival, which took place on the weekend of January 27–29 at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Florida, raised a total of $12.2 million to benefit the Naples Children & Education Foundation. The top lot––which included eight rare bottles of Château Haut-Brion’s red from the 1935, 1945, 1959, 1961, 1975, 1989, 1990 and 2009 vintages, and six bottles each of Haut-Brion’s 2010 red and white––was donated by this year’s honored vintner, Prince Robert de Luxembourg, president and CEO of Domaine Clarence Dillon, the umbrella company that includes Château Haut-Brion. There was such intense competition for the lot that Luxembourg donated a second, identical lot––each sold for $550,000