December 2015

W&V Reports US Wine Industry Escapes Tariffs

Wines & Vines reported December 18, 2015 that Congress passed an omnibus appropriations bill that, among other things, repealed a Country of Origin Labeling requirement for beef and pork entering the US, that had been strongly contested by Canada and Mexico. The issue was so contentious that Canada had threatened to retaliate against American suppliers of goods if the law was not repealed, which would have meant substantially increased taxes on American wines entering those countries. You can find the whole article at: http://www.winesandvines.com/template.cfm?section=news&content=162490

In our own experience, we’ve found Canada to be a very difficult market to get our clients’ wines into. Not only is DTC shipping to Canada entirely off limits, but American wineries exporting to Canada have a number of hoops to jump through in order to get their wines into the Canadian marketplace, and must be very careful in following the laws. US wineries need to find a trustworthy distributor to place their wines into the mostly state-controlled system, and prices for US wines are typically 25-50% over stateside retail. If you’re looking at exporting to Canada or you need help tackling the compliance for your export orders, please contact us.

Premier Cru Sued Over Failure To Deliver Wine

The Contra Costs Times reported yesterday that a number of customers have brought suit against the wine retailed Premier Cru over a failure to deliver wines purchased as futures on its website https://www.premiercru.net/ “At least 10 investors, many from China, have sued Premier Cru since November 2014, alleging they paid for more than $5 million worth of expensive wine and only received a tiny fraction. All the plaintiffs share the same tale: As the wine deliveries fail to turn up, Premier Cru employees string along anxious investors with excuses, and the routine continues with false promises of cash refunds. Customers were told of wine pallets stuck in French ports or at sea en route to China, always coming up with a new delay, the lawsuits claim.” We know from personal experience what these plaintiffs went through, as we shared the same exact experience on our own as these other plaintiffs did: Purchased wines, which never arrived, strung out with lame excuses by their customer service reps over email. Read the full story here: http://www.contracostatimes.com/breaking-news/ci_29210042/wine-pyramid-scheme-customers-sue-berkeley-business-over

NVWM Announces Strategic Partnership With Achelous

Napa Valley Winery Management, a leading wine-industry support organization in the North Bay Area, announced today a strategic partnership with Achelous Partners, LLC, a New York and Netherlands based investment bank (http://www.achelous.com/) to offer Mergers and Acquisitions services. Winery Management provides federal, multi-state, and local compliance services, bookkeeping, and administrative support. The joint venture will allow Winery Management to have access to traditional M&A services for its clients, including sell-side mandates, buy-side mandates, valuations, and strategic advisory. Their team has been dedicated to creating shareholder value for clients through the origination and execution of both sell side and buy side transactions. For sell-side clients, value maximization means identifying and communicating the key attributes of the business or asset being sold to the most appropriate and qualified group of potential strategic and financial buyers. For buy-side clients, team members source acquisition opportunities through their knowledge and relationships within the wine industry and constant global travel.

APAC Recommendations Head to Board of Supervisors

The formal recommendations of the Agricultural Protection Advisory Committee (APAC) will go before the Napa County Board of Supervisors for an initial review on Tuesday, September 8, with revisions made by the Napa Planning Commission. The issues involved are contentious. The Napa Valley Vintners, for one, supports the “formal recommendations of APAC as they were initially drafted” (NVV email 12/4/15) which includes among other things a provision allowing wineries to maintain “vested rights.” The revisions made by the Planning Commission would not exempt wineries with existing rights who apply for any modification to their permit (or, who apply for a permit for the first time). Contact us for more details, or to determine whether the changes as proposed may effect you.