KWV International, a 100% subsidiary of the KWV Group, announced its global strategy for the first time in Paarl yesterday.

The company said it is evolving as a multi-national wine company and no longer just the marketing arm of the KWV Group, purporting that at least a third of its portfolio emanates from foreign countries, which includes a mix of both New and Old World wines.

Vernon Davis, MD of the company, said KWV International had since 1996 refocused its worldwide strategy, slimming down the number of countries it marketed to from about 68 to 28, of which the UK, Germany and the US were its focus markets.

The company hoped to almost double its worldwide sales from the present 2.3m cases to 4m cases by the 2004/2005 financial year.

Of these wines, 1.7m cases were KWV own brands, another 100,000 cases were South African estate brands and 500,000 cases were foreign brands.

"A third of our turnover is achieved nowadays from medium and high priced wines from countries such as France, Chile, Argentina, Spain, Italy and Argentina," said Davis.

Since 1996 the company had started realigning its strategy to own brand marketing. He said it was a bold step, which meant supporting the brands on both above and below the line spend.

He declined, for strategic reasons, to stipulate just how much was being spent, but said that with the South African Rand being soft, the company had to be very judicious with how it spent its budget.

"If I had a big war chest, I would definitely expand our horizons, but for now I have to concentrate on the three main focus markets. We will, however, continue to look for opportunities wherever possible."