Charbay: Handcrafted spirits from Northern California

American Wines is pleased to announce the statewide distribution of the Charbay family of distilled spirits. The brand features small, handcrafted releases of vodka, rum, pastis, black walnut liqueur and whiskey. Charbay’s flagship fruit-infused vodkas taste just like the real fruit. Rind, pulp, juices – it’s all there.

A family business

The Charbay distillery is owned and operated by the Karakasevic family. Miles, a European-trained master winemaker and master distiller, traces his family tradition back more than 250 years to 1751 in former-Yugoslavia. He has been involved with winemaking and distilling since he was a child.

Marko, following a classical European apprenticeship with his father, is the family’s 13th generation to carry on the tradition of winemaking and distilling. Marko’s vision was the catalyst for Charbay Vodka and Charbay Whiskey. His revolutionary style, using only 100% real fruit and tea has set Charbay apart from the huge world of flavored vodkas. Made only once a year when the fruit is ripe, making them “vintage vodka”, they taste “better than the fresh fruit they are made from” – Bon Apetit Magazine.

The Napa-based family is committed to exceptional quality ingredients and fermenting/distilling techniques. The main production still, a classic Alambic Charentais Pot Still, is an hour north in Mendocino County.
Charbay Clear Vodka

Distilled in a four column still from corn and rye; barely filtered to preserve body and mouth-feel. Winner of Food & Wine’s Vodka of the Year, as well as Spirit Journal’s No. 1 Vodka two years in a row – Charbay is the first vodka to ever be in the Top 10 Spirits in the World from Spirit Journal, and was given 100 points!
Ruby Red Grapefruit Vodka -
ripe in fall

Juicy, sweet … instantly familiar. Fruit source: Texas Rio Star. Cocktail example: Ruby Red Grapefruit Vodka Tonic or Hemingway.

Blood Orange Vodka – ripe in spring

Deep-red color, with all the aromas and spicy sweetness of this Sicilian-native fruit. Fruit source: Porterville, California. Cocktail example: Blood Orange Cosmo or Blood Orange Drop.

Raspberry Vodka – ripe in summer

Flavored with whole raspberries from Oregon. Cocktail example: On the rocks or Raspberry Drop.

Meyer Lemon Vodka – ripe in winter

A rare crop; considered the sweetest variety of lemon. Fruit source: Porterville, California. Cocktail example: Meyer Lemon Drop or Meyer Lemon Bloody Mary.

Green Tea Vodka - the only crop we can harvest twice a year

Flavored with four extractions of whole-leaf, first growth green teas from the Anwei Province in China. Cocktail example: On the rocks or Green Tea Mojito.

Pomegranate Vodka - ripe in summer

With an earthy, floral and spicy flavor from the Wonderful variety. Fruit source: Visalia, California. Grown organically (*non-certified), these are the most beautiful pomegranates we’ve ever see n! Cocktail example: Pomegranate Cosmopolitan or Moroccan Martini.

Alambic Cane Rum

Triple Copper Pot Distilled sugar cane from Hawaii and Jamaica, unaged and unbeleivably smooth! 100 points given to Charbay Rum from Wine Enthusiast last year – it will not dissapoint!

Tahitian Vanilla Bean Rum

Bittersweet with cocoa bean nuances. Suffused with vanilla but not cloyingly sweet. Luscious sugar cane taste. “A must-have for serious rum fanatics” (Wine Enthusiast Best of Year 2004).

Whiskey Release II

The second release in a 3 part series, this is a collectors treasure. Aged for 8 years, this is a beauty. Only 240 cases (6-pack), packaged in a lovely gift box, perfect for Whiskey officionado’s looking for something completely unique.

Black Walnut Liqueur

Black, English and Carpathian walnuts infuse a toasty, barrel-aged Pinot Noir brandy. Features easy-sipping nut flavors and a long-complex finish. Taking two years to create and only 50 cases released at a time. Serving suggestion: Blended into whipped cream for a coffee drink, poured over ice cream, on pumpkin pie or a nut tort.

Southern Wine & Spirits of Pacific Northwest Corporate Social Responsibility

John Klein, Executive Vice President, General Manager of Southern Wine & Spirits of Pacific Northwest (Southern)—encompassing Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho and Montana—is extremely proud of the large number of Southern team members across all seven states who have offered their volunteer time and donations to a wide range of national, state and local charitable groups. In 2013 and continuing through 2014, Southern has offered support to more than two-dozen different community-based, non-profit organizations across the region.

Columbia Winery Charity Run & Walk—Supporting Seattle Children’s Hospital

For eight years, Matt Haskins, Senior Vice President, Wine for the Pacific Northwest has participated in the Columbia Winery Charity Run & Walk, which benefits the Children’s Hospital in Seattle. In 2013, Southern was one of the single largest independent donor groups of the Charity Run to support families struggling with medical bills. In 2014, Southern employees raised more than $14,000 for the run. The need for uncompensated care grows each year and is expected to exceed more than $100 million this year. Of the 100,000 patients treated at Children’s each year, 65% need financial assistance.

The Columbia Winery Charity Run & Walk is hosted by The Run for Children's Guild. For more information, please visit:

Detlef Schrempf Foundation

In June 2014, Southern donated a selection of wines and spirits from its supplier partners to the 21st Annual Detlef Schrempf Celebrity Gala and Auction. The Detlef Schrempf Foundation serves as a fundraising entity for Northwest children’s charities, enabling organizations to expand their own fundraising efforts.  The foundation’s vision is to assist these organizations in their quest to provide children a better chance at succeeding in life.

Guests of the event included more than 500 local business leaders, celebrities, athletes and philanthropists. Proceeds raised from The Ripple of Giving Gala fund The Healing Center and Inspire Youth Project.

For more information, please visit:

Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery

In 2014, Southern donated to the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery in Spokane, Washington. The mission of the Crisis Nursery is to provide immediate refuge for children and support to strengthen families. This mission evolved from the tragic story of Vanessa Kay Behan, a Spokane girl who died from child abuse injuries at the age of two. Following her death, a group of local business people established the Crisis Nursery so that parents would have a safe place to bring their children in the face of crises.”

The Crisis Nursery provides 24-hour child care for infants and children under the age of seven, parent education, crisis counseling for parents, and referrals to other community agencies. For more information, please visit:

Covenant House Alaska 2014 Fire and Ice Ball

In January2014, Southern donated wines and spirits from participating supplier partners to the Fire and Ice Ball, with all proceeds going to the Covenant House Alaska. Covenant House Alaska has served thousands of homeless, at-risk, and trafficked youth in Alaska. Their sole purpose is to help youth in crisis 24-hours a day. Through three main programs—emergency shelter, street outreach and transitional living programs—Covenant House Alaska meets the basic needs of youth in crisis, while also providing them with the support to become healthy, self-sufficient, contributing members of our community.

This year's Fire & Ice Ball was a huge success. $500,000 was raised to benefit Covenant House Alaska. In just one night, guests provided funds to keep their doors open 24 hours a day for over 100 days. Thanks to this fun night of fundraising, hundreds of young men and women will have a safe, warm, loving roof over their heads.

For more information, please visit:

Anchorage Robert Burns Appreciation Society:

In 2014, the Anchorage Robert Burns Appreciation Society held its 22nd anniversary of the Anchorage Robert Burns Supper in honor of Scotland's greatest poet, Robert Burns. The charity event proceeds are earmarked for local charitable groups such as local Armed Services YMCA, Food Bank Alaska, and Breast Cancer Focus Alaska, among others.  Southern supported the event though an in-kind donation of wine and spirits.
 For more information, please visit:

Oregon Food Bank’s Annual Food Drive

Thanks to the active participation of Southern team members, the annual food drive collected several hundred pounds of non-perishable goods which was donated to the Oregon Food Bank in Portland. The Oregon Food Bank distributes emergency food to hunger-relief agencies throughout Oregon and Clark County, Washington. In addition, Oregon Food Bank’s metro and statewide services teams provide technical assistance and training to hunger-relief agencies and matches local donations to help agencies build capacity to better serve the community.

For more information, please visit:

One Warm Coat

One Warm Coat is a national non-profit organization that assists in the donation of coats. One Warm Coat helps individuals, groups, companies and organizations across the country collect coats and deliver them to local agencies to distribute to people in need.

Southern’s Oregon team partnered with local retail customers to collect and donate several hundred coats for One Warm Coat of Oregon. For more information, please visit:

Additional Outreach Efforts

In addition to the charitable, health and community groups noted above, Southern supports City of Hope, Northwest Harvest, Toys for Tots, the YWCA, Boys and Girls Club, Cordova Sockeye Festival, First Friday Art, Cancer Society, UAS Alumni Association, March of Dimes Celebrity Chef event, Fur Rendezvous, Blue Line Youth Hockey, and AK Selects and the Sitka Seafood Festival, which in 2014 will once again feature a special appearance from the Head Winemaker of Rodney Strong Vineyards Rick Sayre. Southern charitably supports the Children’s Cancer Association of Oregon, the Lan Su Chinese Garden, and Elevate Oregon for urban youth.