LAKE BLUFF, Ill., Jan. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Terlato Wines International (TWI) President and CEO William A. Terlato today announced the creation of a new luxury spirits division at the family-owned company, in conjunction with the establishment of a new partnership with super premium Vodka producer, XELLENT Swiss Vodka, the first and only Swiss Vodka. This new spirits division will be named Paterno Imports, the original name of the company founded by Terlato's grandfather Anthony Paterno, who launched the family's premium wine and distribution businesses more than 60 years ago in Chicago. Under the leadership of Terlato's father, Anthony, Paterno Imports became synonymous with luxury wine in the United States for more than three decades. "Our goal for this new spirits division is consistent with our wine strategy. We've become an industry leader by carefully selecting distinctive products of the highest quality from family-owned companies," said Terlato. "A luxury spirits division is a natural next step in the evolution of our growing company. We have the marketing and sales expertise in place and XELLENT Swiss Vodka is the ideal brand to anchor the launch of this new division, with its distinguished quality and breakthrough packaging." XELLENT Swiss Vodka, part of the family-owned DIWISA distillery, is crafted from the highest-quality 100% Swiss winter rye, and will launch nationwide in the U.S. in February 2008. With its unique quality and signature, stunning red glass bottle, XELLENT Swiss Vodka has already achieved worldwide acclaim. The Swiss Vodka earned a double gold medal at the San Francisco Spirits Competition and a "Classic" designation, the highest spirit rating from Wine Enthusiast magazine. "The Swiss did not invent watches, but they perfected them," said Terlato. "The Swiss did not invent chocolate, but they improved it. And while the Swiss did not invent Vodka, with XELLENT Swiss Vodka, they have mastered it!" The basic ingredient used for XELLENT Swiss Vodka is pure, bread-quality Swiss Picasso and Matador rye, grown in the high-altitude alpine foothills of central Switzerland. The starch in the ground rye is released, liquefied, converted to grain sugar and gently distilled in a unique, three-step process. In the first stage, the fermented mash is carefully distilled in a traditional, small Alembic copper still. In the second phase, the raw spirit is purified in a reflux still consisting of a small copper column with 45 plates. XELLENT Swiss Vodka is then distilled a third time to remove any remaining impurities, a process which also refines and harmonizes its flavor, creating a Vodka that is 96% pure. In a unique process, XELLENT Swiss Vodka is aged for six months to one year, before it is gently finished with water from the Titlis glacier, located in what is known as "the mountain of angels" near Engelberg, in the heart of central Switzerland. The end result is a Vodka soft, yet rich in oxygen and minerals, which elegantly underscores the fine flavor of the rye and creates a distinctive flavor. Along with XELLENT Swiss Vodka, the new Paterno Imports luxury spirits division will include several exceptional spirits specialties currently within the TWI portfolio, including Nonino Grappa from Fruili, Italy; and Tiramisu, a new Italian liqueur with flavors of coffee, chocolate and vanilla from Sommacampagna, a small village near Verona. The Spirit of Hartford was the importer who launched XELLENT Swiss Vodka in the United States. Now, under the Terlato family's guidance, its reach will expand first to selected markets and eventually nationwide, and include event marketing and advertising. "We are thrilled to partner with the Terlato family and Paterno Imports to market and expand our XELLENT Swiss Vodka brand in the United States," said DIWISA President Andreas Affentranger. "Of equal importance to us is that like the Terlatos, we are also a family-owned and managed company, with a longstanding commitment to quality." The DIWISA distillery is located north of Lake Lucerne and has been under family operation since 1918. Terlato Wines International has a global portfolio of more than 40 brands from a host of world-class wine producers and presently markets more than one out of eight bottles of wine over $14 sold in America. Terlato, with more 90+ ratings than any wine company in the world, is the flagship company of the Terlato Wine Group, the parent company of several independent businesses specializing in the marketing and production of exceptional wines. Owned and operated by the Terlato family, the Group also includes the family's winery investments and partnerships in some of the world's most esteemed wine regions, including: Napa Valley; Sonoma County; Santa Barbara County; Victoria, Australia; France's Rhone Valley and Somontano in Spain. The Terlato Wines International portfolio of brands includes: Napa Valley: Brandlin, Chimney Rock, Cuvaison Estate Wines, Markham Vineyards, Rutherford Hill, Tangley Oaks and Terlato Family Vineyards; Sonoma County: Alderbrook, Hanna, Rochioli and Terlato Family Vineyards; Santa Barbara County: Sanford and Tangley Oaks; California Appellation: Glass Mountain; Oregon: Argyle and Sokol Blosser; Italy: Baglio di Pianetto, Ca' del Bosco, Ca' Marcanda (Gaja Toscana), Florio Martinez Marsala, Gagliole, Gaja, Il Poggione, Kettmeir, Santa Margherita, Tiramisu, Torresella and Distillatori Nonino (Grappa); France: Champagne Bollinger, M. Chapoutier, Chateau des Laurets (Rothschild), Domaine Chanson, Domaine Louis Moreau, Josmeyer and Langlois-Chateau; Australia: Branson Coach House, Domaine Terlato & Chapoutier, Domaine Tournon, and Two Hands; Argentina: Tamari; Canada: Peller Estates Icewine; Greece: Boutari; New Zealand: Wairau River; South Africa: Cirrus, Guardian Peak, Engelbrecht-Els, Ernie Els Signature, and Rust En Vrede; Spain: Olvena. For more information, visit http://www.terlatowines.com. XELLENT Swiss Vodka is part of a family company, DIWISA Holdings, founded in 1918, and now owns one of the most modern distilleries in Europe. In addition to Distillerie Willisau Ltd., DIWISA also owns Chateau du Breuil in Normandy, one of the worldwide leading producers of calvados. For more information, visit http://www.XELLENT.com or http://www.diwisa.ch.
SOURCE Terlato Wines International