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20/01/2016

Casella and Deutsch to relaunch Peter Lehmann wines in US, test new “low lux” offerings

One of Australia’s most iconic wineries will get a relaunch in the US market this May. Barossa Valley’s Peter Lehmann Wines, which was acquired fellow Australian winemaker Casella Family Brands from the Hess Group just over a year ago for around $50 million, will be relaunched stateside this spring under the Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits umbrella.

Deutsch plans to prioritise three newly repackaged SKUs from the Peter Lehmann portfolio—Clancy’s Red Blend, Portrait Shiraz and Portrait Cabernet Sauvignon—which are positioned between $15-$20 a bottle, currently a hot price point in the US wine market. In addition, Deutsch tells SND that it will gradually reintroduce several of Peter Lehmann’s super-premium offerings, such as Stonewall Shiraz.

The reboot of Peter Lehmann marks the latest chapter in the Casella-Deutsch partnership, which is best known for making Yellow Tail the US market’s top wine import at 8.3 million cases. In recent years, Casella and Deutsch had explored launching a new $10-$15 Australian brand in the US to help mitigate the effects of unfavorable exchange rates on lower-margin Aussie offerings like Yellow Tail, but ultimately shelved the idea. In the meantime, Casella unveiled its high-end 1919 label ($100), and has continued to build its premium stable, first with the Lehmann acquisition and most recently with the purchase of Coonawarra-based Brand’s Laira from countrymate McWilliam’s Wines last month.

While the currency headwinds against Australian wines in the US have eased somewhat, Deutsch and Casella are still bullish on moving upmarket within the category. In addition to Peter Lehmann, the two partners will begin testing some other “low lux” Australian brand concepts—retailing in the $10-$25 bracket—in the US over the coming year.

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