Australian wine giant BRL Hardy is extending its global reach to South Africa through a joint venture with Stellenbosch Vineyards. A yet-to-be-named South African brand will be the first wine from the tie-up and will be sold by the Australian company through its established sales and marketing network in Europe. The deal is part of BRL Hardy's international expansion plans which include ownership of the New Zealand wine business Nobilo and the French winery La Baume in Languedoc Roussillon. Last year it formed a joint venture with the US company Constellation, forming Pacific Wine Partners to develop sales in the US for both their wine ranges. Stellenbosch Vineyards is a privately owned winemaker and marketer and produces 850,000 cases of wine for export and the domestic South African market. Managing director Herman Böhmer said: "The alliance with BRL Hardy provides us with the leverage we need to gain distribution in Europe and is the first venture of this kind by a South African wine company. The joint venture enhances our strengths." BRL Hardy Europe's chief executive, Chris Carson, said: "The South African wine category is growing at 24% in value [ACNielsen 12 months to February], ahead of total wine category growth of 7% and there's no doubt that South Africa has the opportunity to be a major player in many European markets." {{DRINKS }}