July-August 2010 | HIGH MARKS

Worcester County LCB Wine Manager Lisa Valko-Morris



Ninety Plus Cellars teams with the Worcester County LCB to offer premium wines at incredible prices

Written By: Jonathan Westman | Photographer: Stephen Cherry

For those of us who kick ourselves when learning about the latest and greatest idea because we should have thought of it first – here’s another one. Only if you’re a wine enthusiast, your kicks are about to become leaps for joy.
The local story begins with the Worcester County Liquor Board (LCB) acquiring the exclusive distribution rights to Ninety+ (Plus) Cellars wines. What makes Ninety + so special is their unique business model which provides wine lovers the opportunity to buy premium, otherwise highly-priced, bottles for under $15.

“The value presented in these wines is the result of the current recession. In good times, there is no oversupply of premium estate wines, but the current economy means that people are buying less wine and these producers have excess inventory,” said Brian Sturgeon, Sr., Executive Director of the Liquor Control Board.
Latitude Beverage Company, the parent company of Ninety+, purchases the oversupply of these fine, finished wines at a discount, declassifies the brand (removes and replaces the label with their own) and sells them to customers at a fraction of the original price.
The prestigious wineries that supply these wines do not allow their name to be on the bottle due to the low price points. The process translates to Ninety+ Cellars containing premium wine from the world’s most recognized and trusted producers that is sold at an incredible value to the consumer. While the end-user does not know the name of the maker, Ninety+ proudly promotes the varietal, vintage and region where the wine was produced.   
Latitude Beverage Company founder Kevin Mehra feels the timing of his new relationship with the Worcester County LCB is ideal for local residents and summer visitors of Ocean City and surrounding communities.
“This is a great opportunity to expose our brand and provide great values to the people who live in the county and the 1.2 million vacationers who visit here every summer,” said Mehra.    
“Ninety +” was derived from the Wine Spectator scoring model in which the popular publication’s editors grade wines on a 100-point system. A wine earning a score of between 90-94 is regarded as “Outstanding, a wine of superior character and style.” Those awarded between 95-100 points are considered “Classic, a great wine.” All Ninety+ wines have achieved these levels of distinction.

“With your first taste, you will recognize the nobility of these wines,” Sturgeon said. “For now, the average wine drinker will be able to enjoy wines they could not normally afford. Let’s toast to the first positive fruits of the recession”
“At these low prices, it makes shopping for fine wine pleasurable again,” said Lisa Valko, Worcester LCB Wine Manager. “Without a doubt, this is the best wine I’ve had in quite a while.”
Ninety+ Cellars is available at the Route 50 Wine Rack, Barley Hops and Grapes, Rita’s World of Wine and Worcester County LCB package stores in Berlin, Pocomoke and Snow Hill.
Restaurants currently offering the wines include Reflections, Jive, The Princess Royal, Sub Marina, Lizzy’s and Flavors of Italy.

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