The Swiss-based Hess group, which is in a takeover battle for Peter Lehmann Wines with the UK's Allied Domecq, has today written to shareholders of the Australian winemaker, hoping to persuade them to accept its current offer over Allied's premium bid.

Hess has bid an unconditional A$3.85-a-share offer, which it believes is more attractive than Allied Domecq PLC's A$4.00 bid.

Hess calledd Allied's offer "uncertain" as it is subject to a minimum acceptance condition of 51%. Also, Allied wants to review Peter Lehmann's dividend policy, it said.

Hess said it has no intention to change the dividend policy.

Hess is also promising to pay any shareholder who accepts its offer within five days.