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January 9, 2007 > Luxury wine producer Axiom picks new moniker

Luxury wine producer Axiom picks new moniker

By Chris Rauber, San Francisco Business Times

Axiom Wine Co., created in late 2005 when industry veterans Dan Leese and Doug Walker bought the Red Truck and White Truck wine brands from nearby Cline Vineyards, has a new name.

The new moniker, announced Tuesday, is 585 Wine Partners, reflecting the company's address at 585 First Street West in Sonoma, and its business strategy, which focuses on fostering long-term partnerships.

In a Jan. 2 statement, co-owners Leese and Walker said the new name better reflects 585 Wine Partners' emphasis "on key partnerships to build and sustain existing and developing wine brands."

Leese is the winery's president, Walker its chief operating officer. Both are former Foster's Wine Estates Americas' executives; they started what was then Axiom just over a year ago as a Sonoma-based super-premium and luxury wine producer.

The company produced more than 250,000 cases of wine last year, said marketing manager Katy Leese.

Since purchasing Red Truck Wines in December 2005, the company has formed a national sales force and marketing team, and introduced several new varietals, including Red Truck cabernet sauvignon, Red Truck merlot, Red Truck pinot noir, White Truck chardonnay, and White Truck pinot grigio. And in October, it announced the initial release of Pink Truck, a pink wine blend of zinfandel, grenache and mourvedre grapes scheduled for national distribution early this year.

Last month, Leese told the San Francisco Business Times the company has produced 70,000 cases of Pink Truck, which it initially introduced in Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas. Only now is it taking the brand national. Pink Truck sells for about $10, and takes aim at the mid-point between traditional European dry rosˇs and the far-larger U.S. white zinfandel market, which accounts for roughly 26 million cases sold vs. about 1 million cases for dry rosˇ.

To help market its wares, 585 Wine Partners' Pink Truck is a sponsor of NBC Sports' 2006-07 figure skating season, advertising on ten skating specials airing through the season ending January 21.

The Red Truck brand, which includes red Rhone and Bordeaux varietals, was launched in 2002; White Truck, featuring sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, chardonnay and viognier varieties, followed two years later. Between them, the brands accounted for just under 200,000 cases per year as of late 2005, spokeswoman Mora Cronin told the Business Times at that time.

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