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Penfolds owner brings forward 2010 luxury wines release

Under-pressure Treasury Wine Estates has brought forward the release of its Penfolds Luxury & Icon wines from the highly anticipated 2010 vintage, as it seeks to improve group sales revenue.

Treasury only launched its Penfolds 2009 vintage luxury wines in May this year and the 2010 vintage portfolio will now be released this coming October.

From that point on, all Penfolds luxury and ‘Bin Series’ wines will be released annually in October.

Treasury Wine Estates has made the change to give its sales teams around the world a better timeframe to work in. The previous May release period for luxury wines came two months before the end of the firm’s financial year and often caused a mad dash to do deals, Decanter.com understands from people close to the company.

The change should also give Treasury a short-term sales boost in its next financial year, even though the company accepts there it is possible that releasing 2010 wines so soon could reduce demand for 2009.

Penfolds winemaker Peter Gago told Decanter.com earlier this year that the 2010 vintage is one of the best in his career at the estate.

Treasury’s chief executive, Michael Clarke, said Penfolds wines will now be ‘more readily available in the lead-up to key festive periods including Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chinese New Year and Easter’.

Separately, Clarke said that Treasury, which also owns Wolf Blass and Beringer, expects to record a further one-off charge of up to A$260m for the its current fiscal year, which ends 30 June.

The charge is related to the falling value of certain wine brands and assets, which are understood to relate mostly to the firm’s troubled US business.

Clarke, who arrived earlier this year to turn around the wine group’s fortunes, said that he sees the next fiscal year as a ‘reset’ year. He has said he plans to cut back office costs and put more money into consumer marketing, as well as look to sell off some brands.

This week, he refused to rule out a sale of the business during a conference call with analysts. The firm has already rejected a A$3bn takeover bid from private equity firm KKR.

Written by Chris Mercer

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