Epic Wines & Spirits of Santa Rosa buys Spokane wine distributor

Epic Wines & Spirits of Santa Rosa has bought Vehrs Distributing Inc. of Spokane, a wine and spirits wholesaler that operates throughout Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

Epic, the California wholesaler owned by vintner Bill Foley, has been aggressive in adding to its portfolio. Earlier this year, it acquired Pacific Wine Distributors, a trucking company in Irwindale, and renamed it Convoy Beverage Alliance.

The company operates three regional warehouses in the Northwest. It will continue to be independent and retain the Vehrs name. Shaun Dobbelaere, chief operating officer, will continue in his position.

With the recent acquisitions, Epic now has than 370 employees who deliver more than 1.2 million cases of 600 wine and spirits brands. It has 16,000 customer accounts.

Constellation Brands buys minority stake in golfer’s winery

Constellation Brands Inc. recently announced it has bought a minority stake in Kerr Cellars, the luxury winery founded in 2013 by professional golfer Cristie Kerr.

Kerr launched the brand with winemaker Helen Keplinger. The winery sources it fruit from the Napa Valley and Sonoma County.

The purchase price of the ownership stake was not disclosed.

Wine Institute sends letter to feds on dietary guidelines

The Wine Institute on Thursday sent a letter to the departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services and asked them to reject an advisory committee’s proposal to change U.S. dietary guidelines on the recommendation of the number of alcohol drinks per day.

The committee last month recommended new guidelines that call for men to drink up to only one serving of wine, beer or spirits per day as opposed to the current level of two drinks. The proposal would put men on par with women on the daily recommended guidelines.

“The current recommendation in the dietary guidelines should be preserved based on the strength of the current body of scientific evidence supporting that recommendation,” Bobby Koch, CEO of the Wine Institute, said in a statement.

Compiled by Bill Swindell. Submit items to

Bill Swindell

Business, Beer and Wine, The Press Democrat  

In the North Coast, we are surrounded by hundreds of wineries along with some of the best breweries, cidermakers and distillers. These industries produce an abundance of drinks as well as good stories – and those are what I’m interested in writing. I also keep my eye on our growing cannabis industry and other agricultural crops, which have provided the backbone for our food-and-wine culture for generations.

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