Australian wine producer, Peter Lehmann Wines (PLW), has announced it is looking for a new distributor in the US in a bid to reverse a decline in a key market. The announcement came as PLW reported an 11% increase in first half net profit to A$3.4m.

Talks have been held with five unnamed potential distribution partners in the US and a decision is expected sometime during the second quarter of this year.

The aim is to build Peter Lehmann Wines in the high-margin, growing North American market for Australian wines. The company currently derives 7% of its sales from North America and is looking to increase this to between 10% and 15%.

While total exports rose by 9% in volume terms and by 18% in value in the first half, sales to the US had fallen, the company said. PLW's total turnover in the first half rose by 3% to A$21.16 million.