Constellation Brands is looking to double its wine sales in Russia over the next three years, after appointing a permanent sales director in the country.

Michel Troutoud, Constellation's general manager for Europe, told just-drinks today (18 September) that doubling the wine giant's sales in three years in Russia was a realistic goal.

"This year we plan to sell 200,000 (nine-litre) cases, so [doubling sales] doesn't look stupid at all. Hopefully we can do better than that," he said.

Constellation Europe revealed this week that it had appointed a permanent sales director in Russia, Andrey Grumondz, as part of a long-term commitment to the market. Grumondz will work alongside current distributor Whitehall, which is based in Moscow and has a national distribution network.

Troutoud said the firm would look to "replicate" its early growth strategy for the UK market in Russia, led by "clear branding of mainstream wines" at affordable prices. Constellation's Kumala wine brand would join others, such as Robert Mondavi, already on the market, he added.

Russia's wine market remains small, with per capita consumption of around four litres. Per capita consumption of vodka, the national drink, is around 15 litres.

Interest has grown in both New and Old World wine countries, however. Troutoud said he thought the market for New World wines in Russia may reach between 8m and 10m cases, but declined to put a timeframe on his prediction.

Russia's wine market averaged annual growth of 6% between 2002 and 2007, according to a report published this year by market research group Euromonitor.