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News Briefs for February 12, 2016

February 12, 2016

•Verona-based Pasqua Winery saw a 44% sales increase in the U.S. market last year. That performance, led by the winery’s Passimento offering, helped drive a 20% boost to €41 million ($46m) across its global business, which spans 60 countries. Meanwhile, Riccardo Pasqua, who has led North American sales and marketing since 2009, has been named global CEO. He will be replaced in the role of vice president, Americas, by his brother Alessandro, previously a consultant with Bain & Co. Pasqua USA handles Passimento, while Carolina Wine Brands USA markets the flagship Pasqua and Romeo and Juliet brands.

•Champagne Charles Heidsieck is releasing a new vintage rosé, its first since 1999. Charles Heidsieck Rosé Millésime 2006 is available now in limited quantities, with 250 six-pack cases imported through Folio Fine Wine Partners. A blend of 15 crus from the Montagne de Reims and Cote des Blancs, the 2006 is a blend of 63% Pinot Noir, 37% Chardonnay and 8% still red (Pinot Noir). Rosé Champagne has increased to account for roughly 10% of total Champagne sales.

•Lejay, the small artisanal crème de cassis brand that has been available in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts since 2013, will see its distribution extended to California in March. The liqueur, made in Dijon, France, and bottled at 18% abv, will be distributed by Southern Wine & Spirits, which already distributes Lejay in New York. The brand retails at $30 a 750-ml. Arnaud Brachet, who heads up Lejay’s U.S. importing, said he hopes to expand its presence further to Illinois and other states in the near future. With a history dating back to 1841, Lejay is widely considered the original French cassis liqueur, though it was little known outside western Europe as recently as five years ago.

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