Saturday, April 1, 2017

Inside 'Scoop:' Mega Wine Merger Planned

After years of battling each other, America's largest wine producers are joining forces. In a stunning development (and not just my first blog post in almost four months), E & J Gallo and Jackson Family Wines are on the verge of announcing a joint venture of epic proportions. The joint venture will be limited to the production and distribution of a single global wine brand: Cat Box White.

Cat Box White will be a blend of Sauvignon blanc sources from the wineries' global portfolio of vineyards and come in three-, five-, and a brand new nine-liter boxes. A majority of the grapes used for the new wine brand will be from New Zealand, France and California, though vineyards all over the world will be utilized to meet production goals. Rumor has it that Cat Box White is planning to produce over 100 million nine-liter cases of wine by its third year. Joe Wagner, of Copper Cane Wines, has been contracted to oversee the launch of the new joint venture and develop a line of lifestyle products Cat Box lovers will enjoy. Scented candles will be the first of many ancillary Cat Box-branded products.

“This makes us a much more capable competitor up against the really changing landscape,” said Barbara Banke, wife of the late Jess Jackson. “It is clear Gallo and Jackson Family will be a stronger, more competitive U.S. wine producer than either company can be on its own. With Constellation buying up many of the world's hottest brands, and thus their consumers, we decided it was in the best interest of our small family-owned companies to work with Joe to create a brand that people will be immediately embrace." Banke added that while she thought everyone will love this wine, they will specifically market to single women.

Besides cost savings, the merger will create the world's strongest brands which many consumer will be able to identify from its distinct aromas. "Cat Box White will feature the fresh fruit, brisk acidity, and the typical, uh, distinct, uh, aromas wine lovers have come to expect from cool-climate Sauvignon blanc," explained Joseph E. Gallo, CEO of E & J Gallo Winery. Gallo said that cool-climate wines and alternative wine packaging are two of the hottest trends in the sommelier industry right now and they hoped to get Cat Boxes in as many restaurants as possible.

Gallo will have a 58 percent economic stake in the joint venture, compared with Jackson Family’s 42 percent interest, but both companies will have 50 percent voting interest. The wine will be manufactured at each producers various facilities and then blended, finished and bottled at a brand new facility in Calico, CA. The manufacturers' suggested retail price $7.99 for 3-liter, $13.99 for 5-liter, and $19.99 for 9-liter boxes in the U.S. market. Price information for international distribution was not available.

While Gallo and Jackson Family currently compete against each other, Steve Heimoff, former director of wine communications and education for JFW and current political journalist, said the companies’ strengths complement each other. "By working together Cat Box White will be a strong competitor to Franzia box wine and potentially steal market share from the American Lager beer segment." Heimoff added, "this joint venture is also sure to destroy the terrible Trump Winery in Virginia."

Harry Oldman, part-time wine blogger added, "Happy April Fools, you fools!"


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