Australian premium wine producer is to import and distribute wines from Washington State's Stimson Lane and new subsidiary, Oregon's Argyle Winery.

Petaluma has launched a new marketing and sales subsidiary, called Distinguished Vineyards, to handle its Stonier and Smithbrook brands and, from July 1, 2001, its Petaluma, Croser, Bridgewater Mill, Sharefarmers, Mitchelton, Prece and Knappstein brands.

Stimson Lane and Petaluma jointly own the Smithbrook and Bridgewater Mill labels which Stimson Lane is to market in the US.

Petaluma chairman, Brian Croser, said that the new venture was a response to the rapidly changing world of global wine distribution in which "big is becoming bigger for both supplier and distributor and strategic relationships are being formed between them to the potential detriment of small, independent companies."

Chris Snow