The fight for brand leadership in the wine market could feature a new contender this winter following the emergence in the summer of Stowells of Chelsea as a brand to be reckoned with. The battle for the top spot has been between Gallo from California and Australia's Jacob's Creek. But for a brief period in July and August, Stowells was the leading brand. Brand owner Grants of St James's is not boasting market domination just yet as it is still behind the two leading wines on an annual basis. A spokesman said: "We know that Stowells has continued to do well in September and so far this month, and while we would not make any claims, it does at least look like the number one slot at Christmas is going to be a three-way contest this year." Gallo's marketing director Ian Belcher maintained: "There is no fundamental shift in the market going on. Stowells has always been a big player and now they are getting good distribution for their 75cl bottles." The claims were based on ACNielsen data and the Grants of St James's spokesman said: "Although Stowells had a great bimonth, when it was up 46% in volume and value, the period is only indicative of a strong trend. The latest annual figures show the brand is 34% up in volume and 34% ahead in value." The Stowells range was built on its domination of the three-litre bag-in-box market and the collection has 22 wines from 10 producing countries. {{DRINKS }}