After months of investigation, a grand jury indicted nine Bourbon thieves for stealing $100,000 worth of booze from various Kentucky distilleries over the last 7 years, including Pappy Van Winkle and Wild Turkey. According to The Wall Street Journal, the thieves stole 18 barrels since 2008, the most notorious being a heist of $25,000 worth of Pappy in 2013. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton and his deputies may have to destroy the recovered Bourbon at the end of the case, if ordered by the court. Carla Carlton, founder of The Bourbon Babe blog, is not happy about wasting this delicious booze and has started a social media campaign to save the recovered Bourbon.
As part of a recent state visit to the U.S., Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi brought four “ambassadors” to help during negotiations with President Barack Obama: bottles of Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Tignanello and Mastrojanni Brunello di Montalcino. According to Wine Searcher, Obama said during a press conference, “It would be insulting for me not to sample it. I will give you a report on whether it is up to the quality we expect.” Good idea, Mr. President.
Famed Bordeaux Château Margaux will soon be opening its doors to the public, according to The Wall Street Journal. The estate will unveil its new Norman Foster-designed winemaking facility in June and begin to offer free, hour-long tours for up to 15 guests at a time. The modern facility is the historic estate’s first major addition—except for 1982 cellar addition—since being built in the early 1800s.
In the Trade
Earlier today, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates announced its joint effort with Rhône winemakers Michel Gassier and Philippe Cambie on a new Syrah-focused project called Tenet Wines. The goal of the venture is to raise the profile of Washington and French Syrah as well as other Rhône varieties. The line will consist of three wines: Tenet, made from Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre; The Pundit Syrah from Washington State’s Columbia Valley; and Le Fervent Syrah from the Costières de Nîmes in France’s Rhône Valley. Chateau Ste. Michelle winemaker Bob Bertheau and Gassier are co-winemakers for Tenet Wines, with Cambie as consulting oenologist. The inaugural 2013 vintage of The Pundit Syrah and Le Fervent Syrah will be available nationally starting June 1, retailing for $25 and $22, respectively. Tenet will be available beginning September 1for $70.
Bacchus Wineworks, the sales and marketing company that represents DeLille Cellars, Madrigal Family Winery, Panther Creek Cellars, Sbragia Family Vineyards and Upchurch Vineyard, announced the appointment of Brian Fowler as Central Regional Sales Manager. Fowler will be responsible for distributor management as well as restaurant and fine wine retail sales.
Women are steadily moving into more lead winemaking positions at California’s top wineries, according to a study published by Dr. Lucia Albino Gilbert, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Santa Clara University, and her husband, John Gilbert, Ph.D. Completed in two parts, the study observed 480 wineries at two different time periods,1999 and 2014, and used two approaches to assess women’s progress in the industry. The first approach found an increased percentage of women in lead winemaking roles: 14.7 percent in 2014 versus 9.8 percent in 1999. The second approach accounted for availability of these positions, using data only from wineries that didn’t have owner-winemakers or lead winemakers over the 15-year period. From this data, the researchers found that the percentage of wineries with open positions that hired a woman clocked in at 20.5 percent. The study concludes that while women are making positive progress, they are still underrepresented in a male-dominated field. Here at Wine Enthusiast, we’re all for celebrating women’s progress in wine. Check our feature on six female wine industry tastemakers from around the world >>>
Grace and Ken Evenstad, founders of Domaine Serene winery in the Dundee Hills of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, purchased Château de la Crée, a wine estate in Burgundy’s Côte d’Or. The purchase includes vineyard property in Pommard, Volnay, Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet, Santenay and Maranges, all planted with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Aline Beauné, the winemaker at Château de la Crée, will work collaboratively with Erik Kramer of Domaine Serene. Viticulturist Nicolas Perrault will continue to look after the vines and estates.