Will Uruguay be the next hot property on the wine shelves? It could be if the concerted effort being made to raise the profile of the Latin American country has an impact. The country is trying to demonstrate it has the quality and sophistication to compete in the niches that countries such as New Zealand have created. The latest development is the creation of a generic body, Wines of Uruguay, in the UK. This is funded by the Uruguayan government. Spokesman Daniel Pisano said UK sales last year were a modest 35,000 cases, but he estimated this would increase to 50,000 this year and has an ambitious target of 500,000 by 2005. "Wines of Uruguay will act as a catalyst. The wineries that export need to be well represented. We have 19 wineries which want to export and 12 of those do not have UK agents." He said the companies had already spent a great deal on the wineries themselves, making them some of the most modern in the world. Uruguay is setting itself apart from its established wine producing neighbours Argentina and Chile and is emphasising its more temperate climate. It will be putting its weight behind Tannat, a grape variety it is making its own. Currently, 26 wineries export, representing 3% of total volume sales. {{DRINKS }}