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Published:  23 July, 2008

....... For global distriution

Southcorp and Robert Mondavi Winery, in formalising the original Rosemount/Mondavi joint venture, have announced that they are to produce and market two new lines of wine, rather than one (Harpers, 27 October). Joint venture operations in each country will be established to produce and market new brands in the super-premium ($25-$30 retail per bottle) and luxury ($135-$150 and above retail) categories. The combined investment for both companies will be approximately $US16 million over a six-year period. The first wines - and the newest to be announced - will be released in September 2002. There will be four super-premium varietals from Australia (2001 Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay) and three super-premium blends from California (2000 Shiraz/Cabernet and Cabernet/Merlot, 2001 Chardonnay/Viognier). The Australian wines will be produced at Southcorp's Upper Hunter Valley winery at Denman, with grapes sourced from Southcorp's vineyards and independent growers. The initial release of the Australian wines will be a total of about 25,000 cases. Grapes for the California blends will come from Robert Mondavi's vineyards in the North Coast, Central Coast and Santa Maria Valley regions, as well as from independent growers, and will be made at existing facilities close to the source vineyards. The initial release of the three California blends will be about 35,000 cases. In 2003, the partnership will release its limited-production luxury wines - Shiraz blends from the best sites in Australia and California. Brand names and packaging are still under review. All wines will be made under the joint direction of winemakers Philip Shaw of Southcorp and Tim Mondavi. Mondavi will be responsible for global distribution of the Australian wines, except in Australia and New Zealand, while Southcorp will be responsible for global distribution of the joint venture's California wines. The Robert Mondavi family produces Opus One in partnership with the Baroness Philippine de Rothschild of Chteau Mouton-Rothschild; Luce, Lucente and Danzante in partnership with the Marchesi de' Frescobaldi of Tuscany; and Sea, Arboleda and Caliterra in partnership with the Eduardo Chadwick family of Via Errzuriz in Chile. Robert Mondavi also has an interest in Tenuta dell'Ornellaia, an estate in the Bolgheri zone of Tuscany, producer of Ornellaia and Masseto.