Two Alsace wine co-operatives, the Cave de Bestheim and the Cave d'Obernai, have announced plans to merge their activities, thereby creating a regional market leader.

Financial details have not been disclosed and the agreement, which provides for the creation of a common entity comprising wine-making, bottling and logistics, is expected to be approved at a general meeting in March. The new group, supplied by almost 600 growers working 1,800 hectares of vineyards, will employ 113 staff, generate a turnover in excess of EUR56m (US$76.3m) and have an annual output of almost 18.5m bottles.

Cave de Bestheim and Cave d'Obernai have collaborated over the past decade in the supply of bulk wines.

The current Alsace market leaders are the Cave d'Eguisheim and Arthur Metz.