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Recap: 2024 Wilmington Spring Trade Tasting

On March 20th, 2024, Empire Distributors, Inc. of North Carolina customers and trade members were invited to our annual Trade Tasting for the Wilmington area! The 2024 Wilmington Trade Tasting brought together many of Empire’s brands with retail & on-premise beverage buyers from across the Wilmington, NC area. Read on to get a recap at some of the suppliers & brands that attended the event and their featured items available in the Wilmington, North Carolina market.

Duplin Wine Cellars

About Duplin Wine Cellars: Duplin Winery strives to produce wines that capture the spirit of our heritage while maintaining the freshness of the fruit with unwavering quality. Every bottle produced by Duplin draws the same pleasure and appreciation as the first.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Duplin Black River Red, Duplin Muscadine Moscato, Duplin Orange Blossom, Duplin Pelican Red, Duplin Scuppernong Blush and Duplin Southern Mist

Clif Family Winery

About Clif Family Winery: The best wines begin with careful viticulture. At Clif Family we keep a keen eye on our vineyards, ensuring their health and sustainability, and we make our wines with minimal intervention for a true expression of the grape’s character.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Bici Rhone-Style Red Blend, Gary’s Improv Zinfandel, Kit’s Killer Cab, Rosé of Grenache, Rte Blanc Sauvignon Blanc, The Climber Bordeaux-Style Red Blend and Unoaked Chardonnay

DAOU Family Estates

About DAOU Family Estates: As young men, brothers George and Daniel Daou shared the same dream: to live a life in wine. Their dream prevailed years later when they discovered what would become known as DAOU Mountain, an untapped world-class terroir in the Adelaida District of Paso Robles.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: DAOU Cabernet Sauvignon and Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, DAOU Chardonnay and Reserve Chardonnay, DAOU Bodyguard and Pessimist Red Blend, DAOU Rose and DAOU Sauvignon Blanc

Tastings from American Beverage Marketers

Reàl Infused Exotics 

About Reàl Infused Exotics: Crafted with mixologists and chefs in mind, Reàl Infused Exotics is a one-of-a-kind family of products that capture real fruit taste in a squeezable, pourable, and shelf-stable container.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Banana and Black Cherry Reàl, Blackberry and Blue Agave Nectar Reàl, Blueberry and Coco Reàl, Cream of Hazelnut and Crisp Apple Reàl, Ginger and Guava Reàl, Kiwi and Lychee Reàl, Madagascar Vanilla and Mango Reàl, Passion Fruit and Peach Reàl, Prickly Pear and Pina Reàl, Pumpkin and Raspberry Reàl, Strawberry and Watermelon Reàl

Finest Call

About Finest Call: Finest Call is our robust line of high-quality cocktail syrups, mixes, and purees designed exclusively for professional bartenders and mixologists.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Finest Call Espresso Syrup and Espresso Martini, Finest Call Extra Spicy Bloody Mary, Loaded Bloody Mary and Zesty Bloody Mary, Finest Call Premium Lemon Sour, Blood Orange Sour, Citrus Sour, Sweet/Sour, Lime Sour and Grapefruit Sour, Finest Call Mango Puree and Strawberry Puree, Finest Call Pornstar Martini and Margarita Mix, Finest Call Sugar Syrup, Grenadine and Lime Juice, Finest Call Single Pressed Lime and Lemon Juice

Tastings from JUSTIN Vineyards & JNSQ


About JUSTIN: JUSTIN Wines were first planted back in 1981 with a mission to make world-class Bordeaux-style blends. They combine traditional Old World methods—like hand-harvesting and small-barrel aging in French oak—with New World technology. For example, the “Air Knife”, an ingenious New World process invented by JUSTIN winemakers, boosts grape quality and efficiency.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: JUSTIN Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles, JUSTIN ISOSCELES Paso Robles, JUSTIN JUSTIFICATION Paso Robles, JUSTIN Rose Central Coast and JUSTIN Sauvignon Blanc Central Coast

JNSQ Wines

About JNSQ: The phrase “je ne sais quoi” was the inspiration for JNSQ, a superlative new wine made from select California grapes and crafted in the style of the best French Rosés. The result is a taste so unique and surprising that you’ll be at a loss for words to capture what elevates these wines into a class by themselves.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: JNSQ Rosé

Tastings from Delicato Family Vineyards

Francis Ford Coppola Winery

About Francis Ford Coppola Winery: Award-winning wines crafted uniquely for every wine occasion, highlighted by their popular Diamond Collection and sparkling Sofia wines, to their limited production Francis Coppola Reserve wines. For more than forty years, the Coppola family has searched for innovative ways to implement environmentally responsible practices into the vineyards and winemaking techniques and became 100% certified sustainable in 2019.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Coppola Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles, Coppola Diamond ‘Claret’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Coppola Diamond Collection Prosecco and Coppola Diamond Collection Prosecco Rose


About Stoneleigh: Stoneleigh is a premium New Zealand wine that expresses the vibrancy and fresh flavours of the Marlborough region through our minimal intervention winemaking philosophy and collaboration with nature. The cool climate, high sunshine hours and distinctive stone studded Rapaura soils in Marlborough provide the ideal conditions for our signature style – uniquely fresh, crisp & aromatically rich wine ripened by sunstones, sustainably sourced and vegan certified.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc

Three Finger Jack

About Three Finger Jack: Three Finger Jack was a legendary outlaw who roamed in search of riches during the Gold Rush era in what’s now Lodi California. Inspired by his daring character, these wines boast immense structure and hardy flavors sure to stand the test of time. Like Jack, our wines are a bit of an outlaw.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Three Finger Jack Cabernet Sauvignon and Three Finger Jack Chardonnay

Z. Alexander Brown

About Z. Alexander Brown: From GRAMMY award-winning musician Zac Brown and Napa Valley winemaker John Killebrew, Z. Alexander Brown wines launched in 2016 and quickly became the #1 fastest-growing new U.S. wine brand of the year. Highlighting the quality of California’s best growing regions, Z. Alexander Brown wines unveil a robust style reflective of the land and of the unlimited potential that can result.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Z Alexander Brown Ole Smoky Whiskey Barrel Aged Cab Sauvignon

Tastings from Domaine Bousquet

Domaine Bousquet

About Domaine Bousquet: Domaine Bousquet’s premium varietal series comprises a blend of estate and purchased fruit from the Uco Valley. The grapes benefit from major diurnal temperature swings, achieving exuberant ripeness while retaining the juiciness that invites a second glass. The wines are vinified with a French sensibility. The wines are un-oaked – an on-trend sensibility of little or no oak to let the fruit shine through and make the wines extremely food-friendly.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Domaine Bousquet Premium Organic Malbec, Domaine Bousquet Premium Organic Cabernet Sauvignon, Domaine Bousquet Premium Organic Sparkling Brut, Domaine Bousquet Reserve Organic Cabernet Sauvignon and Domaine Bousquet Reserve Organic Malbec


About LO-CA: LO-CA is the definition of feel-good, taste-good wines with more altitude, attitude, and fewer calories. A play on “low-calorie,” LO CA also means “crazy” in Spanish. Low-calorie, low-alcohol, low-sugar, vegan, gluten-free, USDA-certified organic, Regenerative Organic Certified, and Ecocert-approved – how crazy is that!
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: LOCA (Low Calorie) USDA Organic Chardonnay and LOCA (Low Calorie) USDA Organic Malbec

Virgen Vineyards

About Virgen Vineyards: Virgen is not only made from organic fruit but has no sulfites added, thereby qualifying for fully organic USDA certification. Virgen is the purest expression of the local terroir, a mix sandy/gravel soils credited for Domaine Bousquet’s signature “Naturally Elegant Wines,” benefits from brilliant sunlight and 50F degree temperature swings between day and night, leading to super-flavorful, fresh-tasting grapes.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Virgen USDA Organic Red Blend

Tastings from Wine Hooligans


About Broadside: Since 2006 Broadside has crafted wines that embody the pioneering spirit of Paso Robles. Bold and expressive, our portfolio is focused on Cabernet Sauvignon, with three distinct Cabernets that showcase the exceptional quality and diversity of Paso. 
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Broadside Central Coast Chardonnay, Broadside Margarita Ranch Merlot and Broadside Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon

Cycles Gladiator

About Cycles Gladiator: At Cycles Gladiator, we celebrate everyday adventures and inspire good times. Proudly sourced from the top growing regions in California, our wines have earned over twenty Best Buy designations from Wine Enthusiast to date. Drawing our name from the 19th century bicycle manufacturer, the Gladiator Company, we honor their iconic, inspirational artwork on our wine label, as we strive forward in our mission to empower women.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Cycles Gladiator Cabernet Sauvignon, Cycles Gladiator Chardonnay and Cycles Gladiator Pinot Noir


About Portlandia: Portlandia welcomes you to the PNW state of mind. The vision since our first vintage has been simple – to create delicious, affordable wines, all while having loads of fun. Sourced from some of Pacific Northwest’s top growing regions, our wines have earned eighteen 90+ point ratings to date, and counting! With our eye-catching, irreverent labels, these are wines made to be enjoyed, guided by our life philosophy: play hard, work later!
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Portlandia Big Believer Cabernet Sauvignon, Portlandia Oregon Pinot Noir and Portlandia Sparkling Brut


About Shortbread: Shortbread welcomes you to the bright side of life! With a nod or two to our namesake cookie, we craft our Buttery Chardonnay with rich, lush flavors and sunny, smooth character. Whether it’s a glass at the end of the day, or a couple of bottles among friends, our Chardonnay is sure to delight.   
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Shortbread Buttery Chardonnay

Tastings from WX Brands

Bread & Butter 

About Bread & Butter: At Bread & Butter, we believe good things in life shouldn’t be complicated. Good things should just be, well, good. Good, honest, and delicious. And uncomplicated.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Bread & Butter Chardonnay and Sliced Chardonnay, Bread & Butter Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir

Chronic Cellars

About Chronic Cellars: Using only the best – or ‘chronic’ – grapes from each year’s harvest, we create truly intriguing blends made with character. The chill vibe and adventurous flavor profiles of our wines deliver a totally chronic experience.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Chronic Cellars Purple Paradise Red Blend

Our Daily Wines

About Our Daily Wines: Since 1989, we’ve been committed to producing earth-friendly organic wines, free of synthetic additives and preservatives. Our wines are all certified USDA Organic, vegan, and gluten-free.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Our Daily Red Blend


About Trapiche: The history of Trapiche begins in 1883, in a small vineyard called El Trapiche, in the district of Godoy Cruz, Mendoza, where the grapes for the first fine wines were grown. With more than 130 years of experience, Trapiche has earned its place as a pioneering brand in the introduction of French vines, the production of varietal wines, the import of French oak barrels and the use of stainless steel tanks.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Trapiche Oak Cask Malbec Mendoza and Trapiche Tesoro Malbec

Tastings from Boston Beer Company

Angry Orchard

About Angry Orchard: Angry Orchard Cider Company launched its hard ciders nationally in the Spring of 2012. Angry Orchard’s year-round line-up includes Crisp Apple, Apple Ginger, Traditional Dry, and Green Apple. Angry Orchard also releases seasonal ciders, and the Cider House Collection of specialty ciders.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Angry Orchard Crisp Apple

Samuel Adams

About Samuel Adams: Our passion for never settling, and brewing quality, flavorful beers started with our founder, Jim Koch. He brewed the first batch of Boston Lager in his kitchen – a recipe that belonged to his great great grandfather that he found in his father’s attic back in the early 1980’s.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Samuel Adams Just the Haze and Samuel Adams Summer Ale

Truly Hard Seltzer

About Truly Hard Seltzer: Truly Hard Seltzer is a clean, crisp and refreshing hard seltzer with a hint of real fruit juice from concentrate, natural fruit flavors, and just 100 calories, 1g sugar and 5% ALC/VOL. Truly Hard Seltzer is crafted with simple, naturally gluten-free ingredients and contains alcohol made from cane sugar.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Truly Wild Berry

Twisted Tea

About Twisted Tea: The original hard iced tea – the perfect combination of refreshing iced tea, natural flavors and an added twist. Made with real brewed tea, there is nothing like Twisted Tea’s Hard Iced Tea.
Product(s) at Trade Tasting: Twisted Tea Original

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