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If You Read Anything This Week: Wine News 11.24.2017

RNDC & Breakthru announce merger: Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC) and Breakthru Beverage Group have announced a merger—huge news for the distribution industry in the US and Canada. They have stated their intention to innovate through this new company. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018. [Business Wire]

LVMH buys control of Colgin Cellars: Napa Valley’s Colgin Cellars has sold majority stake to Bernard Arnault’s LVMH. The luxury goods company will own 60% of the brand, with the remaining 40% retained by founder Ann Colgin and her husband, Joe Wender, who will continue leading day-to-day operations. The price was not disclosed. [Decanter]

Representation of women in food: Eater Editor-in-Chief Amanda Kludt takes a look at how far the food industry has come in representing women since the notorious November 2013 Time “Gods of Food” cover. Monetary investment, industry recognition, and media representation for women are key to creating a more egalitarian industry. Her review suggests we’ve made some progress, but not nearly enough, and she offers some suggestions. [Eater]

Mark Bixler dies: Mark Bixler, one of the founders of Kistler Vineyards, passed away last week following a short illness. Bixler was an original partner with winemaker Steve Kistler; they started the brand in 1978. He was essential to the success of the business, serving as business manager and running Kistler's lab. [Wine Spectator]

Remembering Patrick Maroteaux: The owner of Château Branaire Ducru, Patrick Maroteaux, has died of cancer at the age of 67. He was an important figure in Bordeaux and a champion of the region. [JancisRobinson.com]

Spirit made from spit: Australian distiller Peter Bignell of Belgrove Distillery produced a spirit made from wine left in spit buckets after the Rootstock sustainable wine festival in Sydney last year. The spirit, called Kissing A Stranger, is 80-proof and tastes a bit like an unaged brandy. [The Drinks Business]

Our favorite SevenFifty Daily article this week

Focusing on service at Canlis: New MS  describes the standards of service and quality that the team at Seattle’s Canlis works hard to uphold. In sharing examples of wines he recently sold, he shows the value of observational skills, humility, and responding to what guests share and request. [SevenFifty Daily]

What do you think?

What do you expect is ahead for the new company that will be formed by RNDC and Breakthru? What is next for the distribution industry in North America?

What does the LVMH purchase of majority stake in Colgin Cellars signal about investment from French and/or international companies in US brands?

Do you think there's been notable progress in fairly representing women working in food and wine? How can we encourage better representation moving forward?

Would you drink a spirit made from spit?

How do your observational skills help you as you interact with guests? Have you ever witnessed the results of insufficient attention—as your own misstep, or while you're dining out?

What else have you been reading this week?