Event Recap: 73rd Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America

2016

This year’s 73rd annual WSWA show saw a record breaking 2,845 attendees come to Caesars Palace Las Vegas from April 18 to April 21 for the wine- and spirits-focused convention. As always the show had an abundance of new and existing products, as well as an impressive selection of celebrities promoting their new brands, including Channing Tatum with Born and Bred potato vodka, ribbon-cutter Christie Brinkley with Bellissima organic Prosecco, Flo Rida with Empire Rockefeller Vodka, Lisa Vanderpump with her LVP Sangria and new Vanderpump Vodka, Jake Owen and Billy Bush with Beach Whiskey, and Florida Georgia Line making a brief appearance for their upcoming launch. Additionally, the event’s keynote speaker was David Gregory, renowned journalist and former host of NBC’s Meet the Press; Gregory is currently covering the presidential campaign for CNN’s New Day.

The event’s official spirit tasting competition winners can be found here, wine winners here, and the Call for Cocktails mixology competition winners here. Other honors at the convention went out to Larry Ruvo and Tito Beveridge. Ruvo, Senior Managing Director of Southern Wine & Spirits Nevada, received the Lifetime Leadership Award for his 40 years of excellence in the industry. Beveridge, founder of Tito’s Handmade Vodka, received the Sidney Frank Award which is given out annually to someone who’s given notable contributions to the industry.

In a sea of new products here are some interesting stand outs from this year’s exposition:

Cocktail Caviar by Holl & Kamp stood out as it’s extremely unique to the beverage scene. Cocktail Caviar is made up of organic burst-able pearls of naturally flavored vodkas. “Pop responsibly,” the company markets with its flavors of strawberry, raspberry, lychee, blueberry & wildflower, and autumn apple. This vegan product makes for a great garnish to any cocktail or glass of Champagne. They add a great burst of flavor for a unique drinking experience, and come in custom-designed stackable jars. Check out their Instagram page for fun recipe ideas here.

Mancan Wine brings out a fun, well-marketed wine geared towards men. Each “mancan” boasts two typical servings in a 12.6-oz. can, comes in at 12.5% ABV, and is available in three flavors: Dry Red (Rich & Satisfying), Dry White (Light & Refreshing), and Fizz (Bright & Delicious), with grapes deriving from Sebastopol, CA. After a night out at a bar, Graham Veysey wished he could order wine while his friend ordered a can of beer, but he didn’t want to order a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot and wasn’t in the mood for any fancy stemware. Mancanwine.com was invented that same night and the rest is history.

Gaur Spice Whiskey by Spectrum Spirits is a whiskey geared towards Millennials and meant to be easier to drink than typical examples. Infused with nutmeg, clove, ginger, and cinnamon, this 86-proof whiskey is shockingly smooth and full of bold flavor from the spices. This is a great gateway product for those whose spirit of choice is not typically a whiskey. The bottles feature the Gaur bull, a Native to South and Southeast Asia. It is the largest extant bovine on the planet and is only rivaled in size by very few land animals. Also known as the Indian Bison, the Gaur represents bold robust strength just like the Guar Spice Whiskey tastes. The company’s website features drool-worthy craft cocktails such as The House that Tommy Built:

  • 2 oz. Gaur Whiskey
  • 3/4 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. Rosemary infused Aperol
  • 1/4 oz. simple syrup
  • 1/4 orgeat syrup, bitters.
  • Garnish: Edible flower and candied orange

De la costa Sangria by Glunz Family Wine & Cellars is a stand out in a field of RTD sangrias. This one tastes as full-bodied, fresh, and high quality as a handmade recipe, but all one needs to do is pour over ice and garnish with fruit. The red sangria is made with a combination of Zinfandel, Merlot, and dark fruits, and the white sangria is made of Sauvignon Blanc, lemon, lime, and grapefruit. This product is perfect for your summer patios and excellent for bars looking for a quickly poured but quality product.

Dragos Cantina, #theunboringcocktail, is brand-spanking-new to the market and is an innovative concept for RTD Margaritas. Meant to incorporate all of the fun without all of the hassle, this product consists of tequila blanco pre-mixed with Margarita mix and features an easy-pour spout in an even easier built-in handle for carrying. It doesn’t end there: this product also comes with gourmet flavored salts (chili lime salt and black volcanic salt) designed for easy glass rimming. The two flavors, cucumber jalapeno and blood orange grapefruit, were smooth and boasted great flavor. It’s hard to imagine this high quality craft cocktail package is only $20 for 6 servings.

We already can’t wait to see what new products we’ll see when WSWA returns to Orlando on the exact same dates, April 18 through April 21 in 2017.