Spanish cava and premium wine producer Codorniu has almost completed the first phase of its Euro7.2m (US$6.3m) investment at Septima winery in Mendoza, Argentina.

Finishing touches are being put to construction work at the cellar and other installations, occupying 4,500 square metres and with a capacity for 1,200,000 bottles. The termination of building work coincides with the sale of the first wines from grapes planted in March 2000.

The twin varietal Septima Malbec-Cabernet Sauvignon was launched to the trade earlier this year at Pro Wein in Dusseldorf but it is only now that the wines are being rolled onto the shelves in Germany, Sweden, Holland, Denmark , Austria and later this summer in the United Kingdom.

In the autumn of this year, the group will launch single varietals using Malbec, Tempranillo, Syrah and Cabernet grapes and in 2004 the company expects to launch the Septima reserve range.

Codorniu expects to export over 80% of the production from the winery with around 20% being sold on the Argentine market