Australian wine giant Foster's Group is hoping to boost its standing in the US with an "ultra premium" wine brand according press reports.

Foster's is hoping to win over influential US wine connoisseurs in the hope that average wine drinkers will then also take notice of its less expensive brands.

Australian reports say that Terry Davis, managing director of the Beringer Blass Wine Estates division said the company needs an icon brand that will create a halo effect for its other wines.

Meanwhile Ted Kunkel, Foster's CEO hopes to double the company's share price by 2006 by broadly using steady cash streams from its slow-growth beer division to fuel organic and acquisitive growth in its expanding wine division.

Sarah Diston