By refocusing its wine business Distell aims to make itself more internationally competitive and so improve its market share to 23% by 2005, compared with the 17% it enjoyed in 1999.

Distell is narrowing its portfolio of wines and identifying key target markets and combining its mix of 15 prestigious boutique wines together with its volume global brands such as Nederburg, Two Oceans, Durbanville Hills, Fleur du Cap and Drostdy-Hof.

Kim Green, Distell's wine marketing manager, said that the boutique wines remained critically important to the image of the company, as well as that of South Africa as a country capable of making fine wines.

"However, the bulk of sales would come from the large-volume brands which were being structured to deliver consistent quality supplies to meet growth in the mid-price sector of the international market.

"We no longer produce wines for the domestic market and then an amorphous export market, but rather for a single, global market that includes South Africa. 

"This does not diminish the local market's importance, nor Distell's pride in being a South African company. It means tailoring strategies to suit each country where we do business and choosing to trade in countries that offer profitable scope for growth."

Besides South Africa, focus would primarily be on the UK, Germany and USA, followed by Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and Canada. 

Distell would be concentrating on the premium sector in the £3 to £5 range and super premium sector between £5 and £7.