L’uva Bella, Ohio’s Largest Winery Acquired by Millennial Investors  

L’uva Bella, the largest winery by volume in the state of Ohio, has been acquired by Marisa Sergi, 26, and Evan Schumann, 25, through their investment fund, S’quared Holdings.

The winery, based in Poland Township, primarily produces bulk wine for private label and retail channels. It also makes a range of grape and other fruit juice products.

The financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed, but the price paid by S’quared Holdings is believed to be “in the mid seven-figure range”.

The winery was founded 15 years ago by Sergi’s father, Frank. Marisa is a third-generation winemaker and already produces wine under the RedHead Wine label, which is distributed in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, with plans to also launch in Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee.

She said she hopes to add further product lines to the winery’s range, as well as branch into organic wine and extend distribution into five to 10 more states.

“We’ll also be implementing innovative partnerships and plan to hire six to 15 more people in the next three to five years,” she said. “We are willing to bet on ourselves, our team, and our community despite the challenging current environment. We believe we can build a bright and prosperous future for our company and our employees by continuing to produce great products and to go above and beyond to make our customers happy.”

Her business partner, Evan Schumann, studied entrepreneurship and finance at university and is member of the fifth generation of his family’s business, Ohio-based metal refinery Schumann & Co. He is the founder of Zitek Corporation and management consulting firm Matrix Growth Ventures, and has also worked for Magnus International and PrintCB.

Source:  Drinks Business and L’uva Bella

 

Good News- New York State Restaurants Reopen for Outdoor Dining

Good News! Restaurants in seven regions of New York state have been given permission by Governor Andrew Cuomo to reopen for outdoor dining today!

As reported by Eater New York, Cuomo gave the green light for restaurants to reopen for al fresco eating in the seven regions of New York state that were in the second phase of reopening.

The seven regions are: Central New York, the Finger Lakes, the Mohawk Valley, the North Country, the Southern Tier, Western New York and the Capital Region.

These rules do not apply to New York City, which is yet to enter the second phase of reopening, but according to Eater, this may happen as early as 22 June. NYC due to enter its first phase of reopening on 8 June.

Restaurants in New York state that reopen for outdoor dining will have to space their tables two meters apart and ensure that all staff members are wearing face masks. Diners will also be required to cover their face when they aren’t at their table.

To qualify for outdoor dining, venues will need to be granted approval from local entities and will have to comply with local regulations for outdoor dining. Eater reports that restaurants and bars in New York City will have to secure specific permits before being able to set up tables outside.

No guidelines have been issued regarding indoor dining in New York State, which will not take place until the third phase of reopening begins.

Millennials are vital to Champagne’s future  

“Millennials are vital to Champagne’s future… because they are willing to look beyond the ‘just for celebrations’ mantra,” states Françoise Peretti, Director of the UK’s Champagne Information Bureau.

Millennials are deemed to be more digitally connected and open-minded than baby boomers.

Peretti further stressed the need to attract a younger generation of drinkers, and the potential demand among “open-minded” millennials.

“Unlike the Baby Boomers, they are open-minded consumers, willing to look beyond the ‘just for celebrations’ mantra,” she said of the age group, which covers those people from their early 20s to late 30s.

“This is their most important attribute: a desire to embrace the idea that Champagne can be a drink for the weekend, not simply New Year.”

Mentzendorff’s Andrew Hawes, who is the current chairman of the Champagne Agents Association believes that grower Champagnes are the key to unlocking the millennial market.

Hawes states “A quiet revolution has been building in the independent sector over the past few years.”  He further adds, “Independents are selling more and more grower Champagne to millennials – they are naturally drawn to the ‘craft’ credentials of smaller brands.”

In the US, Chicago-based sommelier Zach Jones recorded a similar development, and he goes on to say,  “Grower Champagne has had a huge surge in popularity with younger drinkers in the US, because there is a great story to tell and it gives younger consumers the sense that they are supporting a small family winery, not a massive machine.”

Sources:
Drinks Ontario
Champagne Information Bureau – UK

Vinexpo New York announces 2021 dates

It’s official… pencil in February 3 – 4 2020 in your Calendar!

Vinexpo New York has announced dates for its 2021 return to Jacob K. Javits Center. The move is a vote of confidence in the resilience of the wine and spirits industry and the show’s dates, February 3-4, will make it the first opportunity for the global market to gather as a community in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jointly organized with Diversified Communications, Vinexpo New York is the leading international exhibition in North America open exclusively to the wine and spirits trade. It features two full days of educational programming and networking opportunities. The exhibition hall is strategically organized to foster business relationships between both domestic and international producers and American importers, distributors, retailers, brokers, e-commerce representatives, on-trade buyers and sommeliers. Attendee and trade registration will open online in mid-September.

The 2021 show will feature all of the signature offerings of the 2020 show. These include a robust schedule of conferences and masterclasses; a Key Buyer Program offering VIP perks to high-volume wine and spirits buyers; a complimentary business matchmaking service; The Buzz, a dedicated space for knowledge exchange, networking and group discussion; and the WOW! Pavilion showcasing organic wines. US-based importers will also be exhibiting their portfolio of brands. Program details will be announced as they develop.

In the meantime… register for the June 3 webinar…

“The New Normal: Beverage Alcohol in a COVID Environment,” June 3

Vinexpo New York has introduced a webinar series to provide a forum for industry discussion well before it convenes next February. Moderated by Diversified Communications’ event director, Beckie Kier, the series launched on May 5 with The Evolving Landscape of the Wine and Spirits Industry. A second, planned for June 3, will explore The New Normal: Beverage Alcohol in a COVID Environment, and will feature Brandy Rand, chief operating officer, Americas, of the IWSR and a Vinexpo New York Advisory Board member. It will air live at 11:00-11:45 a.m. EDT and registration is available here. As the webinar program continues to develop, future events will be announced at https://www.vinexponewyork.com/webinars/.

“As the international wine and spirits industry, like so many others, navigates the unprecedented upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vinexpo and Diversified are unwavering in our shared commitment to providing a global platform to address the community’s needs, both through our new digital offerings and the return of our in-person event,” said Kier.

Added Vinexpo CEO Rodolphe Lameyse, “The extraordinary challenges posed by COVID-19 are impacting every aspect of our industry. Vinexpo New York 2021 will provide a vital platform for producers, importers, distributors, buyers and more to share their experiences and learnings and to hear from international experts as we all continue to adapt and innovate our way through the crisis.”

For further details visit vinexponewyork.com.

 

US Drinkers Have Increased Wine Consumption During Lockdown

America’s 77 million regular wine drinkers upped their frequency of wine consumption during the pandemic lockdown, despite the closure of many on-premise establishments, according to new consumer research out this week.

The new Wine Intelligence US COVID-19 Impact Report polled a nationally representative sample of 2,000 monthly US wine drinkers during March and April 2020 to understand how their wine drinking behavior was changing as a result of the restrictions due to the coronavirus. The findings paint a picture of a nation finding new occasions for wine drinking – at lunchtime, or catching up with friends online, or replacing the trip to the restaurant with a more indulgent evening meal.

The growing volume of wine purchased was tempered by a small decline in the average price per bottle paid overall, according to the research. However, within this average were significant variations by consumer type. More involved and committed wine drinkers, who mainly spend between $15 and $20 per bottle normally, tended to spend a bit more than usual, while less frequent wine drinkers tended to spend a bit less.

There was significant growth in online shopping across all age groups, with the most likely users of online channels being younger, urban, affluent consumers. This same demographic, who in normal times are more likely to drink wine in social settings such as bars and restaurants, also tended to spend more on take-home purchases.

While the majority of respondents said the origin of wine they bought during this period stayed the same, there was a notable shift in purchase preferences towards domestic wines and away from imports. Some 18% of respondents reported buying more wine from California and other US regions during this time, while 20% said they were buying less wine from France, Italy and Spain. Additionally, US wine drinkers increased their trust in California wines and conversely, lost trust most among old world wines, particularly those from Italy.

Looking to the future, US wine drinkers, on the whole, expressed caution about going out to bars and restaurants immediately after lockdown restrictions were ended – around 40% said they would be less likely to visit a restaurant, while 27% said they would be more likely.

Analysis of this data suggests there is a distinct attitudinal contrast at work among consumers. At one extreme is an optimistic and active group who have made minimal changes to their lifestyle and are less nervous about returning to the on-premise – they tend to be younger, more affluent and city-based, and comprise about 17% of monthly wine drinkers. At the other extreme, 20% of monthly wine drinkers have reacted strongly to the lockdown, and have significantly cut down on spending and wine consumption, and are very reluctant to return to an active social life.

The Wine Intelligence US COVID-19 Impact Report will be published on the 6th of May 2020. It includes latest insights pre, during and predicted post-COVID-19 restrictions, including beverage repertoire, wine buying and consumption behaviors, brand health and lifestyle behavior changes.

Commenting on the report, Wine Intelligence CEO Lulie Halstead said: “Our data supports other evidence that shows that US wine drinking is holding up and that sales will continue to be solid once lockdown ends. In fact, there are clear opportunities with certain consumer segments right now and also in the medium term as we move to post-lockdown behavior. Looking ahead, the US wine drinker is understandably quite cautious about their household finances and the idea of getting on a plane. Thankfully for the wine category, their intention seems to be replacing big treats like vacations and big events with small treats like a nicer bottle of wine.”

Source:  Wine Intelligence