The Australian wine producer BRL Hardy is to launch its hugely successful US brand Blackstone on the UK market. The launch follows the introduction of its first US brand Seventh Moon into the UK earlier this year.

Blackstone is owned by Pacific Wine Partners, the US-based joint venture between BRL and Constellation Brands. The JV bought Blackstone Vineyards towards the end of 2001 for US$140m.

BRL Hardy said the launch was part of a drive to push sales of Californian wine in the UK.

Christopher Carson CEO of BRL Hardy Europe said: "The USA wine category is the third fastest growing category in the UK, increasing 17% in volume. Within this sector the £5-£8 price point is demonstrating significant growth, doubling year on year and Blackstone has the right credentials to drive continued growth.

"The premium nature of Blackstone will complement Seventh Moon, the mainstream brand in our California portfolio."

Blackstone will retail at around £7.99.