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Viticulture briefs

<b>Salinas wine distributor pleads guilty to tax fraud</b>

A Monterey County wine distributor has pleaded guilty in federal court in San Jose to one count of failing to pay an excise tax on wine with an intent to defraud the U.S. government.

Brenda Jo Kibbee, 43, of Salinas, was indicted in September on 11 counts of failing to pay an excise tax on wine that had been removed in 2008 from her bonded wine cellar, Monterey Wine Services.

The government was owed at least $877,127 in taxes as a result her actions, according to the plea agreement. The prosecution stemmed from a criminal investigation by the Internal Revenue Service.

Kibbee is scheduled to be sentenced April 17 before U.S. District Judge D. Lowell Jensen.

<b>Duckhorn buys vineyard site in Washington</b>

Duckhorn Wine Company has acquired a 20-acre vineyard site in Washington's Red Mountain AVA, where it intends to plant cabernet sauvignon vines next spring.

The unplanted site is located just above Col Solare, the vineyard partnership between Tuscany's Marchesi Antinori and Washington's Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. Once developed, the new vineyard will serve as a source of estate fruit for Canvasback, a new Red Mountain cabernet sauvignon.

"While our roots are in Napa Valley, our vision has always been the idea that certain varieties find their best expressions in particular regions," Duckhorn president and CEO Alex Ryan said in a statement. "Cabernet sauvignon from Red Mountain in Washington State is one of these amazing combinations. This acquisition is a testament to how fully committed we are to Washington State and the Red Mountain AVA."

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