Magnotta Winery Corp. has posted a slight list in sales and profits for its first quarter.

The Canadian wine company said yesterday (13 June) that sales for the three months to the end of April were up by 3.7% on the corresponding period a year earlier, to C$5.9m (US$5.53m). Net income for the period was also up modestly, by 2.2% to C$843,295.

Magnotta credited the sales lift to an expanded customer base, increased licensee sales to restaurateurs and more focused marketing campaigns. "This steady and gradual increase in sales is consistent with management expectations," the company said.

Growing pressure on profit margins was noted, due to higher grape prices. The strength of the Canadian dollar, however, mitigated these cost pressures.

Earlier this year, the Magnotta family shelved plans to take the winery private. The company's principal shareholders, Gabriele and Rossana Magnotta, had wanted to acquire all of the shares in Magnotta and merge the company with a wholly-owned subsidiary of their holding company, Magnotta Family Holdings. Over 5% of investors objected to the plan in March, leading to the abandonment of the proposal.