Californian winery Ernest & Julio Gallo is continuing to branch into different wine markets with the UK launch of a new Chilean range.

Viña Chilcaya - meaning 'liquid gem' in Chile - has been created with Viña Bisquertt Family Vineyards, located in the Valle de Colchagua winemaking region. The brand will comprise three tiers: Popular at £5.49 and Premium Reserva at £6.99, both of which include a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and a Chardonnay, and the Super-premium Reserva Especial, which will be launched later in the year and includes a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Chardonnay, priced at £9.99.

In the UK, Chile's top two brands hold only a 19% volume share of the category, according to ACNielsen (off-trade year to 24 December, 2005) compared to nearly 40% for the top two Australian names. Jane Hunter, Gallo's director of marketing, Western Europe, said the firm saw scope for more brands from Chile: "We saw an opportunity for a strong branded player from Chile to come into the market. Chile is one of the most dynamic wine markets in the world and is poised for further growth in the UK," she added.

Hunter said the move into Chile showed Gallo's commitment to brands and its ability to respond quickly to consumer demand. Viña Chilcaya will form part of Gallo's growing portfolio of Old and New World wines from regions across the globe in addition to its California heartland. The launch follows the 2005 UK introductions of the Australian JJ McWilliam range and its French Red Bicyclette brand.

Michael Cox, UK director of Wines of Chile, said the emergence of dynamic brands and wines that are well made and well marketed would encourage more consumers into the Chilean wine category.

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