In an effort to strengthen its international reach, Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates has named its first-ever International Brand team, responsible for marketing estate wineries from South America and Italy worldwide.

Vincent Valverde, 44, a French national born in Spain, has been named International Brand Group Director, reporting to Executive Vice President of Marketing John Grant.

He brings a wealth of international experience to the assignment and a history of fine wine and food marketing in the United States, Latin America, Europe and Asia. Valverde most recently worked for Beringer Wine Estates in Napa Valley, where he introduced wines from Italy, France and Chile as Brand Director of Imports.

Also joining the Kendall-Jackson team as Marketing Director for Kendall-Jackson International Wine Estates is Nicolas (Nick) Baker, 33, who comes aboard from Brown-Forman Wines International, where he has been serving as the Regional Director, UK & Ireland.

Baker, who will execute marketing programs outside the United States, will coordinate with Valverde's national marketing programs and report to David Fredrickson, Senior VP and Managing Director of K-J International.

At Kendall-Jackson, Valverde and Baker will focus on Calina(TM) from Chile and Tapiz(TM) from Argentina, as well as Villa Arceno(TM) in Italy. New wineries and replanted vineyards have recently come on-line in both South American countries, leading the way toward a more aggressive marketing posture. Baker will also be responsible for marketing the main Kendall-Jackson branded wines (Kendall-Jackson, Camelot, La Crema, Pepi and Edmeades) to international markets.

While estate wines from Villa Arceno(TM) have been available overseas, Valverde will plan for the release of the estate's first releases in the U.S. as Baker explores opportunities for Villa Arceno in overseas markets.

Early in his career, a master's degree in plant genetics led Valverde to a coffee farm in Ivory Coast and a flower production unit in Costa Rica. A desire to build brands and foster personal business relations sparked his move to marketing gourmet foods and fine wine, he said.

"My enthusiasm for wine and gourmet products made it clear that I would thrive as a brand champion," said Valverde. "As it turns out, my background allows me to talk on technical terms with anyone, or focus on the inspiration and art found in the brand, depending on what circumstances call for."

Baker, too, has an enviable record of success promoting Fetzer Wines in the United Kingdom, where he established a significant presence for the brand, and believes Kendall-Jackson is well poised to gain more recognition in International markets. "There is every reason to believe the success Kendall-Jackson has enjoyed in the United States can be repeated in export markets," he noted. "We have the quality of wines and can get them to consumers at a price that will help make that happen."

Baker's personal thirst for knowledge and enthusiasm about wine will be used to its fullest in international markets. "Most of the key distributors around the world tend to have a tremendous interest in the background of each wine," he said, "focusing on the winemaker and how the terroir has influenced the wine's style." "What we communicate to our consumers in these international markets is even more vital as they are faced with not just California wines, but wines from every corner of the Earth."

Prior to Brown-Forman, Baker helped Matthew Clark Wholesale of London rebrand the company, helping it evolve from Freetraders to Matthew Clark. He also held a key position with Grants of St. James's in Grantham, England, creating promotional packages that dramatically increased wine sales.

Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates wines are available in more than 60 countries.

Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates produces classic artisan wines entirely in the premium market segment, including America's favorite Chardonnay, Kendall-Jackson's Vintner's Reserve®. Readers of Wine & Spirits magazine recently voted Kendall-Jackson® as the most popular restaurant wine by the glass.