Drinks giant Fosters has invested in an entry-level Australian wine in an effort to raise its share of sales in Europe.

The Beringer Blass wine division of the Fosters Group has secured a 51% stake in Kangaroo Ridge. The wine, from New South Wales’ Cowra region, is already popular throughout mainland Europe where it retails for less than €5 (£3.20). Sales there exceeded 0.25m cases in 2002, with Germany, France and Holland providing key markets.

Kangaroo Ridge gives Fosters a real opportunity to plug a major gap in its global wine strategy, though it will be up against tough competition on the continent. Established Australian brands like Lindemans and Jacob’s Creek are already a formidable force on European supermarket shelves.

Kangaroo Ridge founder John Geber, who has been spearheading his export campaign since April 2000, says the signs are positive.

‘Consumers have taken to the style enthusiastically,’ he says. ‘But one bloke lugging a swag of samples around Europe can’t make the most of the opportunity, so I’m happy to have Beringer Blass’s help to reach more customers.’

Geber will continue to manage the business on behalf of the partnership.

Written by Tom Chippendale11 December 2002