Ailing Australian wine producer Evans & Tate has axed 20 jobs as part of a round of cost cuts it hopes will revive the business.

Evans & Tate said today (7 February) the review - undertaken with consultants 333 Performance Management - had identified annual savings of A$2.5m (US$1.9m).

Chief executive Martin Johnson said 20 employees from across the business were being laid off.

"This is the last thing I want to do, however I am determined to make the hard decisions necessary to ensure that the Evans & Tate turnaround strategy has every chance of success," he said.

"I'm very confident that these changes will put Evans & Tate in a stronger position to implement its turnaround strategy whilst ensuring there is no deterioration in the quality of our wines or the excellence of our service to customers."

Johnson said that the company's management team had been reduced, with himself now taking direct responsibility for sales and marketing.

Evans & Tate has suffered due to Australia's wine glut and has been forced to announce a series of write-downs of surplus wine. In 2004/05, the company booked an annual net loss of A$49.8m.

A delay in the sale of its Griffith winery has forced Evans & Tate to secure further short-term financing as it looks to turn around the business.