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Diageo to distribute Mike Weir’s wines

International beverage firm Diageo has signed on to make Mike Weir Wine one of the few Ontario VQA wineries with cross-Canada distribution.

“This is an arrangement that will open doors for our wines, and
VQA products in general,” Barry Katzman, president of Mike Weir Wines, said in a Diageo release Monday.

Weir, the Ontario-born PGA Tour golfer ranked 30th in the world in 2007, launched his line of wines in April 2005 and signed an exclusive production deal with Chateau des Charmes of Niagara-on-the-Lake in November last year.

Diageo’s new five-year distribution agreement with Weir is specific to Canada, the company said.

“This is a really strong addition to our wines portfolio and a good strategic fit, with our shared focus of growth and opportunities,” Diageo Canada president Debra Kelly-Ennis said in Monday’s release.

“We are confident Mike Weir wines will continue to grow and benefit from our sales, distribution and execution expertise, as well as support the communities in which we work and do business.”

Mike Weir Wine is already available in every province in Canada and production now sits at 30,000 cases, made in partnership with Chateau des Charmes winery, which was the Niagara region’s first commercial vinifera vineyard.

But there’s no arguing that Diageo would offer a highly evolved level of distribution for Weir’s products, as it already owns or distributes alcohol brands such as Crown Royal, Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Smirnoff, Bailey’s, Kilkenny and Captain Morgan, and wines such as Piat d’Or, Baron Philippe and Blossom Hill.

The Weir company announced plans in November 2008 to build a new winery and hospitality centre in conjunction with the Niagara Parks Commission, next to Whirlpool Golf Course at Niagara Falls.

Net proceeds from the Weir label support the Mike Weir Foundation, a Sarnia, Ont.-based Canadian children’s charity.

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