The UK wines and spirits group, Allied Domecq, has written to Peter Lehmann Wines (PLW) confirming its interest in making a counter offer to the A$131m (US$86m) the Australian wine producer has already received from the Swiss group, Hess.

The Barossa Valley wine company said that its financial advisors are now in talks with Allied regarding the possibility of a takeover offer.

With Allied controlling 14.53% of PLW a counter-bid by the UK group has been viewed as a distinct possibility since Hess tabled its bid just over two weeks ago.

The PLW board has been supportive of the Hess offer in the absence of a higher bid but it would appear it is in no hurry to accept the Hess offer while a counter offer from Allied remains a possibility. The board has urged shareholders not to take any action until it makes an official recommendation.

"Throughout the coming months, the independent directors will be considering a number of matters, including the takeover offer from Hess and any other offers that may emerge, whether from Allied Domecq or another party," the company said in letter to its shareholders.

"It is likely that there will be further developments in relation to possible corporate activity and the situation is liable to change at relatively short notice," said PLW chairman, Richard England. "For these reasons, I would urge you to take no action in relation to any proposal until you have received the views and recommendation of the independent directors in our target statement."