Australian Vintage is expanding its UK team, with the appointments of three marketing executives.

The wine company, which changed its name from McGuigan Simeon at the beginning of this year, said yesterday (11 September) that Michelle Beck, Simon McStravick and Clive Donaldson will join its UK operations.

Beck, formally brand manager at Thierry's and Constellation, takes on the newly-created role of UK and Europe marketing manager, whilst Donaldson joins from Oddbins as national account executive. McStravick has been appointed national account manager, a position he recently held at Spanish company United Wineries.

"We've expanded our UK team to further drive this success and to deliver complete solutions for our customers and strategic partners," said Paul Schaafsma, Australian Vintage's European director.

The expansion of Australian Vintage's UK operations coincides with recently released corporate results which revealed a net profit after tax, but before significant items, of AUD5.5m (US$4.4m), an AUD$8.2m improvement on previous results. Sales of branded wine increased by 10.5%, branded wine exports increased 22% and non-branded sales increased by 34.4% in the last financial year.

"This is a strong turnaround for Australian Vintage in what must be the most challenging conditions ever experienced in the Australian wine industry," said Australian Vintage's CEO, Dane Hudson.

"Industry concerns continue, with the Australian dollar at a high level, ongoing drought conditions and structural over-supply in the Australian market."

Hudson said he expects next year to be "particularly tough" as the industry works through the imbalance in the Australian market. "Provided there is no material worsening of conditions," Hudson noted, "we will continue executing our strategic priorities that will ensure the business can meet long-term growth aspirations and expectations of shareholders."