FFG Hillebrand has held talks with wine producers in Bulgaria and Romania to boost the availability of wines from the Eastern European countries in the UK.

The UK-based logistics group has visited both countries to see how the supply chain could be improved.

It said customers would soon be provided with direct routes from Romania, via the Black Sea to the East and over land to Western Europe. In Bulgaria, the company said it had found poor port infrastructure and poor communication on the whereabouts of orders, issues it had worked to rectify.

"The UK export market is key to the ongoing development of these wineries and producing regions, said FFG Hillebrand joint MD David Mawer.

He added that the number of cases of Bulgarian wine handled by FFG Hillebrand had almost tripled in 12 months.

"The involvement and participation of FFG Hillebrand gave UK importers more confidence in the reliability of the supply chain from Bulgaria. In 2004, FFG Hillebrand handled 54,000 cases of wine from Bulgaria - in 2005 this rose to some 140,000 cases, and we expect further growth as this market continues to develop in 2006."