Castel will not be sold to a US company, according to its chairman. Pierre Castel, speaking to Agence France-Presse, said yesterday that the world's third biggest wine company will not be sold to Gallo or Coca-Cola Co, despite rumours suggesting otherwise.

Castel said he has no intention of selling his company, and that no-one from Gallo or Coca-Cola had been to see him.

In discussion with the agency, Castel underlined his desire to continue with the company's international development.

Employing a total of 10,277 people, the wine company had sales of €2.31 billion (US$2.92 billion) in 2002.