The fast growth and consolidation in the UK wine industry has prompted three of its key players to join forces to exploit market opportunities. Greg Wilkins, former md of Gallo, Steve Barton, ex category manager at Halewood International, and Steve Rosser, former business unit director at BRL Hardy, have pooled their resources to create Brand Phoenix. This will be officially launched at the London International Wine and Spirit Trade Fair when it will be showing up to 10 new wines from the New World. The trio said they have signed deals with major producers in California and Australia. They intend to create a big volume ex-cellars business in the UK in the mass market sub £5 sector. Barton said: "Our previous companies built their success concentrating on what the consumer wanted and building brands. We believe this is crucial and that there is an opportunity for a versatile, lean operation." Wilkins added: "The industry is changing from providing production led offerings to consumer driven ones. We have done the research to establish what consumers want." One of the keys was consistently good wine in the bottles at keen prices, he said. "As an independent we will have the ability and flexibility to deliver that." The trio believe branded wines will be the main route because of their growth, but they will also work on retailer brands. The producers they are working with are big players but relatively unknown in the UK. They are producing wine specifically for this country and giving it financial backing. The emphasis will be on the leading varietals. Wilkins said: "Our business model can only work with volume sales. We are not interested in niches and we will only be taking on a limited number of wines." {{DRINKS }}