Daily Swill for February 5

Daily Swill for February 5

The west coast ports (e.g. Long Beach, Oakland) have been problems for importers/exporters for the past half year, but apparently it is getting really bad. I am sure the port operators are just looking for ways exert pressure on the longshoremen to force the negotiation process. Why it matters: for wine and spirits, a lot of product comes into the west coast ports. If they close, it will cause issues especially for California exports and for smaller importers that do not have as much flexibility / resources to re-direct imports through other ports around the USA. It is usually a short-term problem but it could become a major issue.

Epic Wine & Spirits has made a couple of moves in the past week. First, they added a notable Burgundy producer in Albert Bichot. Then they added Wilson Artisan Wineries. Wilson is a company that has been rolling up boutique producers, mostly in Dry Creek. No doubt Bill Foley (the new owner of Epic) respected this strategy. Why it matters: California is the largest wine market in the USA and probably one of the largest in the world. It is dominated by two distributors – Southern Wine & Spirits and Young’s Market. Wine Warehouse is a key competitor but smaller. The rest of the competition is smaller and fragmented. Bill Foley and Epic seem to be trying to join the big boys.

I mentioned this project a couple times in the past couple days, but it looks like it is going to be a contentious “battle” for the Wagner Family and Sonoma residents. As I mentioned, I think this is relevant because Meiomi is one of the hottest brands out there right now.