News Briefs for October 3, 2011October 3, 2011
•In a two-day wine sale held October 1-2 in Hong Kong, Sotheby’s failed to sell out its offering for the first time since entering the Hong Kong market in 2009. Although Sotheby’s was able to move all 504 lots in the first day of the sale, 59 of the second day’s 821 lots remained unsold, including several lots of Chateau Lafite Rothschild. Total sales for the auction came to HK$99.1 million ($12.7m), with a case of 1988 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti going for HK$907,500 ($116,346) emerging as the top lot. The Hong Kong auction, combined with earlier sales in London and New York, brings the cumulative wine sales total for Sotheby’s worldwide in 2011 to HK$582 million ($75m).
•Bordeaux’s wine exports jumped in the 12 months through June, rising 23% to 261 million bottles (21.8m cases) and 34% to €1.75 billion ($2.3b), according to the Conseil Interprofessionel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB). China, Bordeaux’s largest export market by volume (up 85% to 3.5m cases and 125% to €231m/$306m), and Hong Kong (up 71% to 1 million cases and 101% to €326 million/$432m) led the way. Other key markets, including the U.S., U.K. and Japan, showed renewed enthusiasm for Bordeaux. Exports to the U.S. rose 7% to €113 million ($150m) and 22% by volume to 1.6 million cases. Shipments to the U.K.—still Bordeaux’s largest export market by value—increased 27% to €274 million ($363m) and 10% by volume to 2.5 million cases. Japan showed an increase of 16% to €101 million ($134m) and 34% by volume to 1.7 million cases.
•Coupon website Groupon recently announced an accounting change that will significantly alter the way it files earnings. The deal-of-the-day website, which launched in November 2008 by offering gift certificates for Chicago restaurants, now has a presence in more than 150 North American markets and 100 European markets. Prior to its latest accounting change, the company’s total revenue filing included both its earnings received from customers and money later paid out to merchant partners, which put Groupon’s revenue at $1.52 billion last month. The revised filing reports net revenues only, excluding retailer payouts that put last month’s earnings at a revised $688 million. The accounting change comes in response to critics’ claims that Groupon’s figures were misleading. The company plans to go public next month, at an estimated value of $15 billion.
•Daily deal website company Gilt City has acquired private fine-dining booking engine DinePrivate.com, whose co-founder Joe Bastianich will join Gilt City as the company’s private dining and restaurant advisor. This acquisition will broaden Gilt City’s reach in the New York restaurant scene, allowing the company to form exclusive deals with fine-dining establishments throughout the city and link from the Gilt City page to Dine Private’s website, where members can use Gilt City deals to book private dining rooms in nearly 100 participating New York City restaurants.
•W.J. Deutsch & Sons has inked a five-year distribution agreement with Martignetti Companies in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. The deal extends Martignetti’s existing rights to Deutsch’s brands in Massachusetts (United Liquors) and New Hampshire (Martignetti Companies of New Hampshire) and gives Martignetti new rights in Rhode Island (Rhode Island Distributing).
•Diageo is rolling out three-bottle limited-edition packs for Smirnoff vodka, with designs inspired by the nightlife of New York, London and Rio de Janeiro. The packs will be available in select retail shops and duty free starting this month. (A fourth bottle, inspired by Australia, will be included for that market only.) Each bottle in the series carries a signature drink recipe on the sleeve reflecting its location: The Cosmo for New York; the London Collins for London; the Brazil Caipiroska for Rio De Janeiro; and the Australian Lemon, Lime, Bitters for Australia. Diageo rival Pernod Ricard has had success with its city-themed series for Absolut, including New Orleans-, Brooklyn-, Boston- and Los Angeles versions.
•Ripon, California-based McManis Family Vineyards is releasing Jack Tone Vineyands Red and White wines, its first non-vintage wine offering and first to be available in a three-liter bag-in-box format. Suggested retail is $19.99 to $22.99.
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