Many Small and Mid-sized Wineries Likely to be Sold in Next Five Years, Study Says

Plus Diageo to open a new distillery and other news and notes in the world of wine, beer and spirits.

According to a study released by the Wine Division of Silicon Valley Bank, roughly 10 percent of the West Coast’s 4,989 wineries are strongly considering a sale in the next five years. Ownership Transitions in the Wine Industry, authored by division founder Rob McMillan, is a follow up to a 2008 study of the same name. One highlight in the 646-respondent study is that small wineries, especially those that produce at least 5,000 cases annually are most likely to be sold. Comparing likely sales by region, the study concluded that Washington properties are most likely to be sold in the near term, followed by Oregon. This is on trend with recent high-profile sales in both regions. Read the full report >>>

British liquor company Diageo announced plans to build a new, $115 million distillery in Shelby County, Kentucky. Diageo says it hopes to have the distillery operating by 2016, with proposed construction on 300 acres in the Benson Pike area. The distillery will produce 1.8 million gallons of Bourbon and whiskey, and will also house six barrel-storage warehouses.

Italian police seized 30,000 bottles of counterfeit Brunello, Chianti Classico and Sagrantino di Montefalco in a raid after a three-month investigation. The bottles, priced the equivalent of $40 each, were being sold in bars, wine shops and grocery stores and could total hundreds of thousands of dollars. The police did not identify the parties behind the fraud.

Force Majeure, from Washington State’s Red Mountain AVA, has appointed Todd Alexander as its first Head Winemaker and General Manager. Alexander comes to Force Majeure from Bryant Family Vineyard of Pritchard Hill in Napa Valley. Initially, Alexander will oversee the blending and bottling of the Collaboration Series wines from the 2012 and 2013 vintages. Beginning with the 2014 vintage, he will be responsible for creating the profile of the Force Majeure estate wines.

At the 67th Cannes Film Festival, Moët & Chandon auctioned 21 bottles of vintage Champagne from its Grand Vintage Collection—including vintages as far back as 1911 and 1914—at the 21st annual amfAR Gala, Cinema Against AIDS. The bottles sold for more than $200,000, with proceeds benefitting AIDS research.

Following the announcement that Chicago will host 2015’s James Beard Awards, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Choose Chicago tourism board pledged that public money will not be used towards the event. Instead, the board is seeking to raise $2 million in private funds. Grocery chain Mariano’s and food/retail concessionaire HMSHost have already committed nearly $800,000.

Published on June 2, 2014