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News Briefs for November 29, 2011

November 29, 2011

•Christie’s is experiencing underwhelming results at its ongoing Hong Kong fine wine sale, reports Reuters. Running from November 25-30, the five-day wine and contemporary art auction generated wine sales of HK$64.7 million ($8.3m) in its first two days, with just 84% of the lots sold. According to Christie’s head of wine sales Charles Curtis, Burgundy remains a top seller, while demand for Château Lafite Rothschild Bordeaux has been noticeably soft. Despite the current auction’s lackluster performance, Christie’s has reported more than $77.7 million in wine sales for the year thus far, compared to $70 million for the full year in 2010.

•Chablis producer Domaine Laroche is returning to the U.S. market through a new exclusive importing agreement with St. Helena’s Wilson Daniels Ltd., effective January 1st. The largest holder of grand cru vineyards in Chablis today, Laroche is known as an innovator, in part for extending screwcap closures to even its grand cru wines. The Laroche portfolio also includes Mas la Chevalière in the South of France, specializing in organic wines; Viña Punto Alto in Chile’s Casablanca Valley; and l’Avenir in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Laroche was out of the U.S. market for two years, and was previously with Remy Cointreau USA.

•Shares of Groupon Inc. (GRPN) fell 9% on Monday to a closing price of $15.24 on the Nasdaq, marking the fifth trading day since the company went public on November 4 that shares have sunk below the $20 opening price of the IPO. The daily deals company fared well during its first two weeks of trading, with shares reaching as high as $26.19 on November 18, valuing the company at $16.7 billion. But since then, shares have slipped by around 42%. Today Groupon’s shares were up by more than 4% to nearly $16 in midday trading.

•Fort Collins, Colorado-based New Belgium Brewing Co. is reportedly eyeing Philadelphia and Asheville, North Carolina as potential sites for a new East Coast brewery, according to local Colorado news reports. The craft brewer, which hopes to make a decision by year-end, would only say Philadelphia and Asheville are among several possible choices. New Belgium also has two new beers in the works for next year—a pale ale called Dig, set to launch in February, and a pale lager called Shift to follow. The latter will be available only in 16-ounce cans produced by the new canning line that’s currently being installed at New Belgium’s original brewery. When complete, the canning line will also turn out 16- and 12-ounce cans of New Belgium’s Fat Tire and Ranger IPA.

 

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