Lion Nathan has become caught up in a legal battle with niche Australian winery Planatgenet Wines.

Lion, which until December had acted as the distributor for Plantagenet's portfolio in eastern Australia, has been served with a writ by the West Australian producer.

Plantagenet has claimed that Lion misled the winery when it restructured its wine distribution business last year.

Lion's distribution unit, Distinguished Vineyards, was merged with national fine wine distributor Tucker Seabrook in October to become Fine Wine Partners and it took over Plantagenet's east coast distribution.

Plantagenet claims that it was not told the new distribution vehicle would offer rival wine brands from Western Australia and argues that Lion's wine orders fell 58% below its agreed volume target between October and February.

Plantagenet is suing for loss of earnings in the Perth Federal Court after deciding to rip up its agreement with Lion three years early.

Lion Nathan has taken action against Plantagenet in the New South Wales Supreme Court and, according to local reports today (27 February), is understood to be seeking a court order that maintains its agreement with Plantagenet.

Officials for Lion and Plantagenet could not be reached for comment as just-drinks went to press.