French drinks group Castel has announced it is investing US$4m in a wine bottling plant near Moscow.

At a press conference in Paris, Castel's founder and CEO, Pierre Castel, said the group is targeting the heart of the Russian market where prices per bottle range from 85 to 100 roubles.

The bottling plant will have a capacity of 150,000 hectolitres and is is scheduled to open at the start of next year.

The 78 year-old Castel also confirmed that the group would be remaining independent in the wine sector and in so doing quashing rumours which had done the rounds last year of a possible sell-out to Gallo.