South African drinks group Distell said today (1 March) that it hopes to boost its presence in Holland following its deal with local distributor Baarsma Wine Group.

Distell, which owns wine labels Nederburg and Fleur du Cap, struck an agreement with Baarsma that will see the Dutch group handle a number of its wine brands.

Holland is the second-largest market for South African wines and Distell believes that, despite fierce price competition among Dutch multiple retailers, it can succeed in driving sales in the country.

Distell international marketing manager Robyn Steer told just-drinks that the company's focus would be on its "drive brands", which also include Drostdy-Hof, the company's best-selling wine in Holland.

Steer acknowledged that Distell could face pressure from retailers to cut prices but said the company would "try to avoid heavy discounting".

She said: "As a company, we are incredibly stable and one of the most profitable in the South African wine industry. All the business that we do is always mutually beneficial not just for our customers but for us too."

She added: "Holland is a key market for us and this (agreement) reconfirms our interest in the Dutch market."

Last month, private equity firm ABN Amro Capital bought a majority stake in Baarsma for an undisclosed sum.