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October 2, 2017

Katie Santora named head winemaker at Chehalem Winery

Santora joined the Willamette Valley winery as assistant winemaker in 2012 and was promoted to associate winemaker in 2016. She will oversee winemaking operations while reporting to vice president of winemaking Melissa Burr.

Greg Hughes in as new president, North America for Beam Suntory

Hughes currently serves as general manager for North America for the beverage giant. He will replace Albert Baladi in the role starting on January 1. Beam Suntory previously announced that Baladi would serve as president and chief executive officer for the multinational corporation starting in April 2019.

Jackson Family Wines makes changes to executive leadership team

The California-based wine company announced that second-generation proprietor Katie Jackson has been promoted to senior vice president, corporate and social responsibility. Additionally, Gayle Bartscherer has been named senior vice president, international marketing and development, Viviann Stapp has been appointed senior vice president, general counsel, Kristen Reitzell has been promoted to vice president of public relations, and Jane Catelani Howard has been hired as senior vice president of finance.

Ryan Cole to open The Vault in San Francisco

Cole and Hi Neighbor co-owners Jason Kirmse and Tai Ricci will launch the fine-dining American restaurant in early 2019 with an emphasis on classic American wines and cocktails. They will also provide liquor and wine lockers for building tenants to store their bottles.

David Gates named managing director for BrewDog Distilling

Gates will oversee operations at LoneWolf Distillery, the spirits arm of the multinational brewery and pub chain based in Ellon, Scotland. Gates previously spent 27 years with Diageo, most recently as managing director. The move comes as the LoneWolf aims to expand beyond their current offerings of gin and vodka into whisky and rum.

Soutirage names Tommy Svendberg wine director

Svenberg joins the Napa Valley-based wine lifestyle company after serving as director of sourcing at Vinfolio. He will aim to heighten the caliber of wines and experiences that Soutirage delivers.

Wine director Joe Briand opens Elysian Bar in New Orleans

Briand is once again teaming up with chef Alex Harrell on the just-launched restaurant, located inside the newly-opened hotel Peter and Paul. The bar program focuses on classic cocktails and aperitifs, while the wine list emphasizes domestic bottles.

Dave Pickerell, Whistlepig master distiller, passes away

Pickerell was one of the founders of the Vermont distillery in 2009 after more than 14 years with Maker’s Mark. He was attending WhiskeyFest San Francisco at the time of his passing, from natural causes. Pickerell was 70 years old.

Chris and Lindsey Wanner to open new location of West Coast Wine & Cheese

The Bay Area duo will be expanding from their original San Francisco location with a new wine bar in Mill Valley, California, located in Marin County. Like the first location, it will focus on limited production wines from producers throughout the West Coast. The second location is slated to open on November 30.

Edouardo Jordan to open heirloom-focused Lucinda Grain Bar

The chef behind Seattle’s James Beard-winning June Baby will open his third restaurant—a bar by night; cafe by day—in November. In addition to grain-centric meals, the grain-based craft-cocktail program will focus on classics and highballs.

Josh Peeples and Cheryl Foil buy Elyse Winery

Longtime Napa Valley vintners Ray and Nancy Coursen sold the winery to locals Josh Peeples and Cheryl Foil, who will take over the winery, the inventory, a two-bedroom cottage and about 1 acre of vineyards. The new owners will focus on ramping up digital marketing, with millennials in focus.

Matthew Biancaniello opens Mon-Li at The Calamigos Beach Club in Malibu

The 12-seat hideaway, Mon-Li at The Calamigos Beach Club, opens Thursday. The menu, centered around foraged ingredients, includes 12 liquid courses, and five food courses.

Beam Suntory’s Matt Shattock steps down

After 10 years in the role of CEO, including during the Beam and Suntory merger, CEO Matt Shattock will hand the reins of Beam Suntory over to current chief operating officer and president – North America, Albert Baladi.

Jarrett Gray and Joy Gray Prince open The Harp in Atlanta

The forthcoming restaurant will feature American cuisine, and drinks options will include a wall of 40 self-service taps featuring one-ounce pours of beer, wine, and Champagne, all of which will be purchased using an RFID-enabled bracelet.

Michigan brewery Right Brain to be acquired

The Traverse City craft brewery will merge with younger competitor, Roak Brewing Co., out of the Detroit area, in an attempt to give both brands a boost among the state’s 300 craft breweries.

Burgundy expects largest white harvest ever

According to Louis Fabrice Latour, president of Maison Louis Latour there were bumper crops in the Maconnais and Chablis. Numbers for the final crop remain to be calculated, but indications suggest a substantial crop in white-producing villages across the region.

Felipe Szpigel changing roles at Anheuser-Busch

Szpigel had been the president of the craft business unit for the brewing giant, but will now head an as-yet-undisclosed venture in the “beyond beer” category. He will be replaced by Marcelo Michaelis, current vice president of sales for region 7.

Beverage director Lisa Balagna set to open Marrow in Detroit

Balagna will work with co-owner Ping Ho on the wine program, while designing a craft cocktail list for the combination restaurant and butcher shop, which will focus on lesser-known cuts from locally-raised livestock. Marrow is set to open on October 7.

Denver’s Laws Whiskey House adds two members to leadership team

The Colorado distillery added Christine Perich, formerly of New Belgium Brewing, to their board of directors, while Kieran Walsh was named vice president of sales. Walsh was previously the executive vice president, sales and marketing, for New Orleans-based Porchjam Distillery.

Katie Koran to open Sloan + Parker in Austin, Texas

Koran will operate the family-friendly wine bar with an emphasis on organic and biodynamic wines, as well as a selection of craft beers. Wines will also be available for retail purchase. Sloan + Parker is slated to open in early November.

Beverage director John Hess set to open Dorian’s in Chicago

Hess has designed a cocktail program featuring a variety of original drinks, as well as drinks designed for sharing and a rotating draft cocktail selection. The space will also emphasize music, with a vinyl shop at the entrance and live performances by DJs and bands.

Head brewer Alex Shoenthal to open Lower Left Brewing Company in Charlotte, North Carolina

Shoenthal will focus on IPAs and other hop-heavy beers, with a core lineup of four-to-six beers available year round with a number of seasonal or limited release beers as well. Lower Left Brewing is slated to open in early 2019.

Nick Rancone opens In Bloom in St. Paul, Minnesota

Rancone will serve as beverage director at the new restaurant, which he co-owns with chef Thomas Boemer. The fine dining restaurant inside the Keg & Case food hall will offer cocktails, wine, and spirits, and is set to open on September 24.

Eric Alperin to open The Streamliner in Los Angeles

Alperin will head up the cocktail bar, which will be located inside Los Angeles’s Union Station and attached to sister restaurant and brewery Imperial Western Beer Company. Both spaces are slated to open later this fall.

Sommelier Daniel Beedle opens Sans in Brooklyn

Beedle, formerly of The NoMad and Old World Hospitality, will serve as beverage director at the new vegan restaurant. The cocktail program focuses on avoiding waste by reusing ingredients, as well as plenty of housemade ingredients.

Kevin Lee launches The Wolves in Los Angeles

The cocktail bar, housed inside the Alexandria Hotel, is modeled on a late-19th century Parisian salon. Lee serves as bar director, and has designed a cocktail program centered around house-made amari, vermouths, and liqueurs.

Jeff Josenhans to debut Rendezvous in San Diego

Josenhans, food and beverage director for the U.S. Grant Hotel, is behind the soon-to-open cocktail bar within the hotel that serves as a tribute to the legendary post-Prohibition bar that was housed in the hotel. The bar will offer a variety of punch bowls as well as beer, wine, and other cocktails, and is set to open in late October.

Constance Savage named general manager for L’Ecole N° 41

Savage joins the Walla Walla, Washington-based winery after serving as vice president and director of supplier relations for New York-based Kobrand Corp. She will replace longtime general manager Debbie Frol, who is set to retire at the end of 2018. (Press Release)

David Borsman to open Bar Lyon in Boston

Borsman will serve as beverage director for the soon-to-open French restaurant, which will focus on the classic dishes of Lyon. Drink offerings will focus on French wines, but with beer, cider, and cocktails also available. Bar Lyon is slated to open on September 14.

Debora Fernandez to open Kaiyo in San Francisco

Fernandez will serve as bar manager for the new restaurant, which focuses on Japanese-Peruvian cuisine. Fernandez will incorporate pisco heavily, as well as ingredients such as corn, salted plum, and yuzu which are featured in dishes. Kaiyo is set to open this week.


Michael Chu opens East Trading Co. in Seattle

Chu serves as the bar manager at the cocktail bar, which features twelve signature cocktails named after the Chinese zodiac. Chu previously partnered with co-owner I-Miun Liu on the similarly-themed cocktail bar Dynasty Room, also in Seattle.

Silas Manlove opens Fog Room in Seattle

Manlove, who previously managed similar rooftop bar The Nest, will serve as general manager for the rooftop bar for the new Charter Hotel, offering original cocktails featuring local ingredients.

Joe Lewis named chief executive officer at Painting with a Twist

Lewis, formerly vice president and general counsel at Smoothie King Franchises, Inc. will oversee operations for the over 300 locations of the combination painting studio and bar. Founders Cathy Deano and Renee Maloney will remain with the company but no longer oversee day-to-day operations.

Longtime California winemaker Kent Rosenblum passes away

Rosenblum, a champion of California Zinfandel, founded the eponymous Rosenblum Cellars in 1978, eventually selling to Diageo in 2008. Shortly thereafter he founded Rock Wall Winery, working with his daughter Shauna. Rosenblum was 74 years old.

Court of Master Sommeliers announces 24 new master sommeliers

Tyler Alden, Scott Barber, Peter Bothwell, Dana Gaiser, Morgan Harris, Andrey Ivanov, Maximilian Kast, Douglas Kim, James Lechner, Jane Lopes, Steven McDonald, Vincent Morrow, Elton Nichols, Robert Ord, Joshua Orr, Dan Pilkey, Christopher Ramelb, Steven Robinson, Justin Timsit, Mia Van De Water, Greg Van Wagner, Steven Washuta, Jessica Waugh, and Jill Zimorski all earned the honor through passing the rigorous three-part examination.

Brian Valencia to open Klein’s in Brooklyn

Valencia will serve as North American beverage director for London-based hotel chain the Hoxton, which will open its first location this weekend. Valencia has designed the cocktail program for the all-day restaurant in the hotel’s lobby.

Joe Harden named winemaker at Nickel & Nickel

Harden joins the Napa Valley-based winery after working as the Bordeaux varietal winemaker at Robert Mondavi. He will take over production of Nickel & Nickel’s portfolio of single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons.

Institute of Masters of Wine names ten new Masters

Americans Olga Karapanou Crawford, Lindsay Pomeroy, and Nicolas Quillé earned the honor alongside Elsa Macdonald of Canada, Barbara Drew, Regine Lee, Thomas Parker and Tim Triptree of the UK, Job de Swart of the Netherlands, and Almudena Alberca of Spain, bringing the global total of Masters of Wine to 380.

Jermaine Whitehead opens Deep Dive in Seattle

Whitehead has designed cocktails to match the aesthetic of the moody, deep sea-themed bar, offering both classics and original cocktails in the space, opened by chef Renee Erickson. It is housed within the newly-opened Amazon Spheres.

Giuseppe Rinaldi passes away

Rinaldi was one of the most acclaimed producers of Barolo and a fierce advocate for the region’s traditional winemaking methods. His wife Annalisa and daughters Carlotta and Marta will continue running the winery, as they had during his illness. Rinaldi was 69 years old.

Erik Segelbaum to open St. Anselem steak house in Washington, D.C.

Segelbaum is the corporate wine director for Starr Restaurants, which is partnering with New York-based restaurateur Joe Carroll, who operates the original location in Brooklyn. It will offer 35 wines by the glass including some eclectic offerings from Turkey, Hungary, and Bolivia. St. Anselem is set to open on September 10.

Peter McCrea sells Stony Hill Vineyard to Long Meadow Ranch

McCrea, whose parents founded the iconic Napa Valley winery 70 years ago, will join the advisory board for the Napa Valley agriculture company, while his daughter Sarah will join the executive team. The McCreas will retain a stake in Stony Hill Vineyard.

Jordon Ogron opens Boutellier wine shop in Los Angeles

The bottle shop is an adjunct to the recently-opened Tesse, and will offer over 1000 different wines ranging from $15 to several thousand dollars. The space will also host private events and act as an additional dining room for Tesse on busy nights.


Terrevant Wine Company adds two to sales team

The Santa Barbara County-based winery named Kelly Howell as south central division manager and Gerry Catanzano as northeast division manager. Howell most recently served as vice president of sales – strategic and national accounts at Purple Wine + Spirits, while Catanzano was northeast divisional manager for Mendocino Wine Company.

Chopin Imports Limited names Jeffrey Dechiro vice president of sales

Dechiro has been with the spirits marketing company since 2012, previously serving as central region division vice president. In his new role, he will be responsible for all sales-related company activity. (Press Release)

Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards names Debra Eagle general manager

Eagle joins the Santa Barbara County winery after serving as senior director of business development at Vintage Wine Estates. She will oversee construction of the new winery facility, as well as help shift the business towards estate wines and direct-to-consumer sales.

Jon Sebastiani to return to Viansa Winery in Sonoma

Sebastiani’s family founded the winery in 1989, and he served as president of the winery when it sold to an investment group in 2005. It is now owned by Vintage Wine Estates, in which Sebastiani’s Sonoma Brands purchased a minority stake. Sebastiani’s brother, Christopher, will serve as the winery’s general manager.

Scott McLeod joins Cuvaison Estate Wines as consulting winemaker

McLeod served as director of winemaking at Rubicon Estate for 18 years before starting his own consulting business in 2010. He will join the Napa Valley wine company to assist winemaker Steve Rogstad in evaluating winemaking and viticulture practices. Cuvaison has also hired Kelly Maher, formerly of Domaine Chandon, as consulting viticulturalist. (Press Release)

Chad Coulter opens LouVino wine bar in Cincinnati

Coulter will team with his wife Lauren on the wine bar, which will offer 60 wines by the glass. This will be the fourth location for the Louisville, Kentucky-based tapas bar. Louvino is set to open on August 21.

Alison Surgeon named national sales manager at Rombauer Vineyards

Surgeon joined the iconic Napa Valley winery in 2004, most recently serving as northern California and Hawaii regional sales manager. That role will now be filled by Kristine Pederson, previously a senior account specialist with Monterey Bay Wine Company. (Press release)

Silver Trident Winery promotes Mallory McEligot to director of membership & events

McEligot joined the Napa Valley-based winery in 2015 as membership & industry relations manager. (Press release)

William Meznarich to open Savoir in Houston

Meznarich, of local distributor Victory Wine Group, is partnering with owner Brian Doke on the modern American restaurant. Meznarich will curate the bottle and glasspour list, as well as beers and cocktails. The two are also teaming up on the nearby wine bar La Grande Rue. Savoir is scheduled to open in November.


Loire Valley icon Jo Pithon sells Pithon-Paillé

Pithon established his winery in 1978, eventually rehabilitating the abandoned Coteau des Treilles vineyard in Beaulieu-Sur-Layon. That vineyard, along with 15 other acres of vines and a négociant business, were included in the sale. Pithon will remain on as winemaker for the next several years.

Phillip Hurst to join Precept Brands as chief innovation officer

Hurst had served as chief executive officer at Healdsburg, California-based wine company Truett-Hurst, which sold to Seattle-based Precept Brands earlier this month. He will be replaced by co-founder Paul Dolan, who will serve as interim chief executive at Truett-Hurst.

Sommelier Dan Thomas opens South Egremont Spirit Shoppe in Massachusetts

Thomas, who spent a decade as the sommelier at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, is partnering with former Spirited Wines “wine guru” Tom Morrison on South Egremont Spirit Shoppe. They’ll feature wines from the Finger Lakes, Greece, the Canary Islands, and Croatia, in addition to Old World staples.

Sommelier Noel Shu to open Wind Rose in New York City

Shu will team with chef Sung Park on the West Village Korean-French fusion restaurant, which will emphasize smaller plates. It’s unclear as of yet what the focus of the wine program will be. The restaurant is set to open in October.

George Parkinson hired as new sommelier at The Peacock Inn

Parkinson joins the Princeton, New Jersey-based restaurant after a 35-year career in the restaurant and hospitality industry. He’ll emphasize Champagne and other sparkling wines, but will still offer different  wines from around the world.

André Mack and Phoebe Damrosch to open & Sons, a wine bar in Brooklyn

Sommelier and winemaker André Mack of Maison Noir Wines and his life-and-business partner Phoebe Damrosch are set to open an American charcuterie and wine bar in Brooklyn’s Prospect-Lefferts Garden in October. The 22-seat venue will feature an all-American wine list focused on selections from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, and a menu of charcuterie and cheeses from American producers.

Norman Bonchick retires from 375 Park Avenue Spirits

Bonchick served as chairman and chief executive officer for the Lexington, Kentucky-based spirits importer, which he joined in 2004 (then known as Van Gogh Imports). He will be replaced by current president and chief operating officer Jason Schladenhauffen. (Press Release)

Far Niente names Andrew Delos director of winemaking

Delos, who previously oversaw winemaking at EnRoute in the Russian River Valley, will continue to manage winemaking at that label while adding oversight for four Napa Valley properties: Far Niente, Nickel & Nickel, Dolce, and Bella Union.

Katie Nelson named senior director of winemaking at Columbia Crest

Nelson had previously worked for parent company Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, and will now assume full winemaking duties for the entire range of wines produced at the Washington winery. She was most recently assistant winemaker at Seattle-based Charles Smith Wines.

Sarah Traynor to open Brass Heart in Chicago

Traynor will serve as beverage director for the soon-to-open fine dining establishment, which will offer wine pairings to go with the 12-to-15 course tasting menu designed by chef Matt Kerney.

Sommelier Zach Olson to open Birch in Seattle

Olson will partner with chef Jeffrey Kessenich on the restaurant, which will offer two different tasting menus. In keeping with the Northwest focus of the restaurant, Olson will offer plenty of Northwest wine in addition to global selections.

Sommelier Jake Skakun to open Le Swan in Toronto

Skakun, will also serve as general manager, is teaming with restaurateur Jen Agg on the revamp for the restaurant, which closed in 2015. He currently runs the wine program at Agg’s wine bar Grey Gardens.

Brent Stone promoted to chief operating officer at King Estate

Stone, who also serves as winemaker for the Willamette Valley winery, will now oversee day-to-day operations. He has been with King Estate since 2011.

Ernest J. Gallo named chief operating officer at E. & J. Gallo

Gallo is the son of current president and chief executive Joseph Gallo, and the grandson of founder Ernest Gallo. He is slated to take over as president and chief executive in 2020, and previously served as the vice president and general manager of the international wine marketing company’s spirits division.

Sommelier Spencer Wolff named executive chef at Sterling Vineyards in Calistoga, California

Wolff will oversee food and wine pairing experiences for visitors to the Napa winery, as well as serving trade members who visit the estate. (Press Release)

Sommelier Mindy Lopus opens SheWolf in Detroit

To pair with the handmade pasta focus of the Italian restaurant, Lopus, who also serves as general manager, has focused almost exclusively on Italian wines, with two dozen available by the glass and another 100 or so bottle selections.

Lanie Bayless to open cocktail bar in Chicago

The small cocktail bar will be situated underneath her father Rick Bayless’s Frontera Grill, and will emphasize a variety of Mexican medicinal herbs. Lanie Bayless serves as spirits director for the family’s restaurant group.


Virginia wine industry pioneer Dennis Horton passes away

Horton began growing grapes in the early 1980s, and in the late 1980s planted nearly 30 acres of grapes, including the first Viognier grown in Virginia. Horton also became the first Virginian to replant Norton, a native varietal that was ripped out during Prohibition. He was 73.

Aaron Reed to open Tiki Tatsu-ya in Austin, Texas

Reed will oversee the beverage program at the upcoming tiki bar with the owners of Ramen Tatsu-ya, which currently operates three Texas locations, with a fourth to come. Reed will be assisted by the company’s beverage director Michael Phillips and sake and shochu sommelier Bryan Masamitsu Parsons.

Steve Schwob to open Fort Oak in San Diego

Schwob will serve as general manager at the cocktail-focused eatery— the third he and chef Brad Wise have opened in the last three years. Fort Oak will also offer a deep selection of wines from around the world.

Justin Chin to open Hina Yakitori in San Francisco

Chin, formerly of Gary Danko, will serve as beverage and service director at the new restaurant, which will offer a 16-course tasting menu from chef and owner Tommy Cleary. Chin will offer wine pairings, as well as sake and shochu.

Patrón Spirits creates two new executive roles

Marc Roberts will serve as vice president of control states, Canada, and strategic accounts, while Danny Primo will be the new vice president, commercial excellence, and execution. Both will report to Darren Doalson, newly-appointed managing director of North American sales.

Ian Burch named winemaker at Archery Summit

Burch joins the Dundee Hills, Oregon winery after serving as winemaker for Scott Paul Wines, also based in the Willamette Valley. In the role, Burch will oversee all aspects of the winemaking process.

Fever-Tree USA names Charles Gibb North American chief executive officer

Gibb most recently served as president and chief executive at Belvedere Vodka. The move comes as the producer of tonic water and other mixers takes direct control of US operations. (Press Release)

Joe Volpert to open Corzetti in Portland, Oregon

Volpert, who also partners with chef Johnny Nunn at Verdigris, will serve as wine director at the new Italian restaurant. The emphasis will be on affordable wines from Italy, Spain, and the Pacific Northwest.

Joseph Phelps Vineyards names Clarice Turner president

Turner joins the iconic Napa Valley winery after serving as the founder and chief executive officer of Carneros Associates, a strategic advisory firm. She is also the advisory board director for Women of the Vine & Spirits and a member of the Culinary Institute of America Society of Fellows.

Philippe Melka named lead winemaker at Westwood Wines

Melka is an acclaimed winemaker and consultant famed for his work in Napa Valley. This venture, working with Pinot Noir and Rhône varietals for the Sonoma, California-based winery will be his first in Sonoma County. (Press Release)

Fred Furth, founder of Chalk Hill Winery, passes away

Furth, an acclaimed lawyer, founded the Sonoma County winery in 1972, eventually expanding to more the 1,200 acres outside Windsor, California. He sold the winery to William Foley of Foley Family wines in 2010. Furth was 84 years old.

C. Mondavi & Family names Maria Steckler vice president of national accounts

Steckler joins the iconic Napa Valley wine company after serving as director of national accounts (off-premise) at Duckhorn Wine Company.

Victoria Ash to serve as national sales manager for Westwood Estate Wines

Ash, formerly the Pacific region manager for Purple Wine & Spirits, will oversee sales for the Sonoma Valley-based winery.


Jessica Retif opens Saba with chef Alon Shaya

The New Orleans restaurant focuses on modern Israeli cuisine, but Retif, the general manager, has selected wines from Europe and the Middle East. There is also a Champagne and caviar menu.


Leslie Rudd, founder of Vintage Wine Estates, passes away

Rudd owned a number of businesses in California besides the Santa Rosa-based wine company, including Distillery No. 209 in San Francisco, the Oakville Grocery, and PRESS restaurant in Napa Valley, as well as endowing the Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena. He was 76 years old.


Dunham Cellars promotes Robert Campisi to head winemaker

Campisi joined the Walla Walla, Washington-based winery in 2008 as a cellar worker, before being promoted to assistant winemaker in 2012. He will oversee all aspects of the winemaking process starting with the 2018 vintage. (Press Release)


Sommelier Freddy Foot opens Birdsong in San Francisco

Foot, formerly of Gary Danko, has assembled a list focused on classic European wines supplemented with smaller Pacific Northwest producers and craft beers, designed to match the restaurant’s emphasis on Pacific Northwest cuisine.

Jared Burns set to unveil new destination winery in Walla Walla, Washington

Burns, the founder and winemaker at Revelry Vintners, will unveil the nearly 12,000 square foot facility situated on 20 acres of farmland on May 4th. (Press Release)

Terravant Wine Company adds two executives

The Santa Barbara County winery announced Mike Jackson as chief sales officer and Tracey Mason as chief marketing and business development officer as they look to more than triple production by 2023.

Precept Wine names Dan Ewer chief sales officer

Ewer joins the Seattle, Washington-based wine company with holdings in four western states after spending almost two decades with Young’s Market Company, most recently as senior vice president of business development for 10 western states.

Winemaker David Heitz to depart Heitz Cellars

Heitz is the son of the iconic Napa winery’s founder Joe Heitz, and has served as winemaker since his father’s death in 2000. The move comes after the recent sale of the winery to billionaire Gaylon Lawrence Jr.

Purple Wine + Spirits adds two to executive team

The Sonoma County-based wine and spirits company named Barry Sheridan chief marketing officer, and Eric Gilliland as vice president of supply operations. Both are joining Purple after working for Treasury Wine Estates; Sheridan as senior vice president of marketing, Americas, and Gilliland as general manager of Beringer.

Leonildo Pieropan, iconic Soave producer, passes away

Pieropan took over his family’s winery in 1967, and for decades was among the few quality-minded producers in the Soave region, including producing the first-ever single vineyard Soave and the first oak-aged Soave. He was 71.

Napa Valley winemaker David Stevens passes away

Stevens worked in management and winemaking for Napa Valley icons like Freemark Abbey and Domaine Chandon, as well as teaching at Napa Valley College’s Viticulture and Winery Technology program. He was 57.

Argyle Winery names Robert Alstrin director of sales and marketing

Alstrin joins the Newburg, Oregon-based winery after more than 15 years working in the Willamette Valley wine industry. He’ll manage marketing and direct-to-consumer efforts for the winery, as well as guiding brand planning. (Press Release)

Alessandro Boga new Italian portfolio specialist at Wilson Daniels

Boga will seek to expand national distribution for Italian wines at the New York-based importer. (LinkedIn)

Far Niente makes two more executive changes

Current chief executive officer Dick Hampson will give way to incoming CEO Steven Spadarotto, though Hampson will remain chairman of the board. Current president Larry Maguire has been named vice chairman.

Matthew Owings new chief financial officer at Rombauer Vineyards

Owings joins the Napa Valley-based winery after most recently serving as the vice president of finance at Jackson Family Wines.

Sommeliers Janice Dean and Eli Traverse to open wine bar in Seattle

Claret will feature over 200 bottles and more than 50 wines by the glass, including half-glass “duos” of each varietal on the list. It’s slated to open in April.

Washington Wine Industry Foundation adds four new board members

Corina Davis, Joe Hattrup, Jordon McEntire, and JJ Williams will join the fund-raising and gift-giving organization. Hattrup farms 165 acres of grapes in Washington’s Yakima Valley, and Williams is the sales manager for Kiona Vineyard and Winery in Red Mountain, Washington.

Frederick Wildman & Sons adds three new leadership appointments

Bill Seawright has been named senior vice president of the company’s East Division; Tim Daffin has been named vice president of the Central Division; and Barry Walsh has been named vice president of the West Division for the New York-based wholesaler and importer.

Jean-Marie Heins new chief marketing officer for Broken Shed Distilleries

Heins, a longtime executive at Sidney Frank Importing Co., was heavily involved in the launch and development of spirits brands like Grey Goose and Jagermeister. She will be in charge of the overall marketing strategy for the New Zealand-produced Broken Shed vodka.


Mercedes O’Brien to open Cold Beer in Atlanta

O’Brien, currently the beverage director at Kevin Gillespie’s Gunshow, is collaborating with the acclaimed chef on the upcoming cocktail and beer bar, which will highlight her innovative cocktails, including some made tableside.

Vintage Wine Estates adds two to leadership team

The Santa Rosa, California-based wine company promoted Erin Luby to vice president of tasting rooms and wine clubs, and Kimberly Benson to vice president, finance. Luby has been with the company since 2009, while Benson joined in 2014.


Distilling maven Pearse Lyons passes away

Lyons, also the founder of global biotech company Alltech, entered the distilling industry in 1980 as the founder of the Lexington, Kentucky-based Alcohol School. Eventually, he opened Town Branch Distillery in Lexington, and in 2017 the Pearse Lyons Distillery in Dublin, Ireland. He was 73.

Maggie Campbell promoted to president of Privateer Rum

Campbell has been the head distiller at the Massachusetts distillery since 2012. In her new role, she’ll look to continue to grow the Privateer brand, as well as expand their stock of aged rums.

Woodford Reserve promotes Elizabeth McCall to assistant master distiller

McCall, previously a master taster for the Louisville distillery, will work under master distiller Chris Morris on product innovation and development.

Benovia Winery names Ed Thralls general manager

Thralls joined the Russian River-based winery in 2016 as director of marketing and business operations. In his new role, he will oversee all sales, marketing, hospitality, finance and business operations for the winery.

Sommelier Ryan Arnold launches wine label

Arnold, wine director for the Chicago-based Lettuce Entertain You restaurant group, is teaming with music industry managers Pat Corcoran and Tim Smith on No Fine Print Wine.

Women for WineSense Napa Sonoma adds six new board members

Maryam Ahmed, currently director of public programs at the Culinary Institute of America, will be the new president. She’ll be joined by Kate Spadarotto as vice president, Brandi Brown as secretary, and Michelle Ruggirello as treasurer, while Teri Cirillo and Antoine Casanave will serve as program director co-chairs for the non-profit wine education organization.

Changes at Craft Brewing Alliance

John Glick is out as vice president of emerging business, and Karmen Olson has been tabbed for the newly-created director of innovation role.

Jean-Pierre Savare purchases Château Franc-Mayne

The French billionaire paid an undisclosed sum for the St.-Emilion Grand Cru Classé estate, which includes the winery, 17.3 acres of vines, and a bed-and-breakfast. The winery currently produces about 2,500 cases of wine annually.

Matt Dogali appointed new president and chief executive officer of the Presidents’ Forum of the Distilled Spirits Industry

Dogali replaces Vicky McDowell, who resigned in December, as the head of the industry lobbying and governmental outreach group.

Robert Rowland named bar manager at Joli

Rowland will run the drinks program at the new Seattle restaurant after a longtime stint at nearby cocktail bar Oliver’s Twist.

Ryan Bailey opens NoMad LA

Bailey, who was previously the Head Sommelier at NoMad NYC, serves as wine director for the Los Angeles outpost from co-owners Daniel Humm and Will Guidara.

Legendary Piedmontese winemaker Bruno Giacosa passes away

Giacosa took over the family wine business in 1960, becoming the first producer in Piedmont to bottle his Barolos and Barbarescos by individual vineyard site. He was also instrumental in saving the Arneis grape from extinction. Giacosa was 88.

Royal Wine Corp. hires Jeremy Briese as Rocky Mountain Midwest manager

Briese will handle sales in that region for the New Jersey-based producer, importer, and distributor of kosher wine and spirits.

Rudy Buratti, chief winemaker at Castello Banfi, passes away

Buratti had been a part of the winemaking team at Castello Banfi since 1983. He was 56.

Pat Pokorny named executive vice president and general manager , Pennsylvania for Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

Pokorny was most recently the vice president of the control state and military region for Moet Hennessy USA, and will bring his experience working with control states like Pennsylvania to his new job.

Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas adds five members to board of directors

Master sommeliers Laura Williamson, Randall Bertao, Scott Carney, Reggie Narito, and Virginia Philip will all serve three year terms.

Court of Master Sommeliers names new chair and vice chair of the board

Master sommelier Devon Broglie, the global wine buyer for Whole Foods Market, will serve as chair of the board, while master sommelier Matt Stamp, co-founder of the Napa wine bar and bottle shop Compline, will serve as vice chair.

Lake County Winery Association adds three to board of directors

The newly elected members are Christian Ahlmann of Six Sigma Ranch, Jessie Zielsdorf of Langtry Estate, and Randi Sedrick of Wildhurst Vineyards.

Ferrari-Carano hires Thomas Rivers Brown as consultant

Brown will focus on the cabernet sauvignon program for the Sonoma-based winery, after work with Schrader Cellars, Kinsella Estates, and Charles Krug.

Rombauer Vineyards hires Heather Rehnberg as director of marketing

Rehnberg was most recently a brand manager at Treasury Wine Estates, and will look to further the reach of the St. Helena-based winery.

Alexander Weil joins LA’s Sprout Restaurant Group as assistant general manager and beverage director

Weil has previously been the head sommelier at Bouchon in Beverly Hills.

Paul Coker joins Specialty Restaurants Corporation

Coker was formerly the sommelier at Stonehill Tavern at the St. Regis Monarch Beach in Laguna Beach, CA.

Alicia Ortiz named Brown-Forman market manager for South Texas

Ortiz will make the move from Seattle to Austin for the spirits and wine company.

Sonoma State University brings on Heather Conlin as instructor of Wine Business Management

Conlin has 16 years experience in the industry, having served as general manager of ADAMVS Howell Mountain Estate, general manager of CONSTANT Diamond Mountain Vineyard, both in Napa Valley, and general manager of Bonny Doon Vineyard in Santa Cruz. She will teach the Spring 2018 online certificate program in Wine Business Management beginning Thursday, January 18, 2018.

Lou Romano named CEO of Flying Fish

After four years as the national sales manager for Oskar Blues Brewery, Lou Romano has left the Colorado-headquartered craft brewery to become the president of Flying Fish Brewing Company.

18 new Advanced Sommeliers announced

Congratulations to Jeremy Broto-mur, Taylor Grant, Jay Hutchinson, Lauren Kemp, Justin King, Marissa Kipp, Nathan Morrell, Sophie Oppelt, David Osenbach, Imre Papp, Juan Quintero, Derek Reijmer, Luis Rivera, Katja Scharnagl, Joshua Stanko, Kiril Tsarev, Andres Villegas, and Lindsey Young.

Wine by Joe/Dobbes Family Estate names Travis Proctor director of winemaking operations

Travis Proctor came to Wine By Joe in 2015 as production winemaker to oversee all wine production for the company, under the direction of Joe Dobbes. Now promoted to Director of Winemaking Operations, Proctor will continue in this role, but will also participate in a broader range of company activities, including vineyard/grower relations, industry engagements, business development and promotions.

Steve Burns named president of Wine Market Council

For two decades, Steve Burns has specialized in re-alignment, board development, and management for associations. Most recently, he was the owner of O’donnell Lane L.L.C., a marketing, public relations, and strategic planning firm for associations. Prior to that, Burns was the Executive Director of the Washington Wine Commission, where he served from 1996-2004.

LibDib hires Amanda Rehn as sales VP 

Liberation Distribution (LibDib), a web-based wholesale alcohol distributor, has hired  Rehn vice president of platform sales. She previously worked at Big Basin Vineyards as national sales manager.

Hakkasan Group promotes Kat Thomas to training manager, wine

Hakkasan group promotes Kat Thomas to the position of Training Manager, Wine. Thomas will continue to be based at Hakkasan Las Vegas, but will operate for its Las Vegas U.S. office. She is responsible for training staff throughout the United States on wine knowledge, selling techniques, pairings, and driving sales.

Champagne Pommery appoints Clément Pierlot as winemaker

Pierlot has been a vineyard director at Vranken-Pommery Monopole since 2004. In 2010, he became part of the Vranken tasting panel, and in 2014, took control of oenological development for champagne, as well as overseeing Pommery’s English sparkling wine.

Marc Hirten in as CEO for Frederick Wildman and Sons, LTD

Hirten comes to Wildman from William Grant & Sons where he was General Manager of Commercial Strategy. His responsibilities include overseeing sales, marketing, operations, finance, supplier and distributor relations as well as Wildman’s dedicated wholesale division.

Tim Hassett leaves Beam Suntory

Tim Hassett is leaving the company to run a startup business outside of the spirits industry. Effective immediately, Albert Baladi, currently president of Beam Suntory’s International region, will take on the role of coo and president for the Americas.

Acumen Wines appoints Daniel Saavedra as eastern regional sales manager

Daniel Saavedra has spent the past seven years working in the National Sales Division for Ladera Vineyards in St. Helena, most recently as vice president of sales.

Acumen wine appoints Carter Prasse-Freeman as central regional sales manager

Carter Prasse-Freeman spent six years as District Sales Manager for Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, an Acumen partner, in Houston prior to joining the Acumen team.

Unita hires Brian Curran as new VP of sales

Curran brings two decades of beverage industry sales experience, having previously served as vice president of East Coast sales for wine importer, producer, and seller, Terlato Wines International.

Mark Guillaudeu named beverage director at Oakland’s Commis

Guillaudeu was formerly the sommelier and manager at Roka Akor in San Francisco.

Joshua Nadel named Master Sommelier

Nadel is the executive beverage director for Andrew Carmellini Restaurants in New York, as well as the founder of Gothic Wine, a producer of Oregon Pinot Noir.

Andrew Schawel launching Bullion in Dallas, TX

The former wine director at NYC’s Union Square Cafe will be the beverage manager and sommelier for the new French restaurant from acclaimed Dallas chef Bruno Davaillon (insider tip).

Jordan Lari heads to Long Island to open 2 Spring

He’ll team with chef Jesse Schenker (the Gander) to launch the restaurant in Oyster Bay, NY with a list of approximately 500 bottles, including 350 from a “private stock” list of highly sought-after wines.

Anchor Distilling Co. adds three to executive team

The San Francisco-based company has promoted Gregory Finch from president of East Coast sales to chief sales officer, promoted former vice president of marketing Morgan Rabbat to chief marketing officer, and hired Shannon Tracy as chief finance officer.

Jaki Palacios hired as director of marketing for Cuvaison Estate Wines

The former brand manager for C. Mondavi and Family was hired to expand awareness of the Napa-based winery company.

Cuvaison Estate Wines names Steve Richards vice president of international and domestic sales

The former head of domestic sales will focus on expanding the reach of Cuvaison and Brandlin Vineyard overseas.

Anheuser-Busch elevates Ken Stout and Todd Ahsmann in High End beer division

The beverage behemoth has moved pieces around as it tries to push Goose Island into international markets. Stout will transition from president of the U.S. business into the newly-created presidency at Goose Island International. He’ll be replaced by Ahsmann, who previously ran New York’s Blue Point Brewing Company.

Vanessa Vineyards names Howard Soon master winemaker

The longtime British Columbia wine industry veteran is now tasked with making the wines for Vanessa Vineyards in Canada’s Similkameen Valley. Planted in 2006, they transitioned from just grape growing into wine making in 2012.