Chilean pisco producer Pisco Capel has decided to put its Francisco de Aguirre winery up for sale in an attempt to reduce its mounting debts.

The 500 co-operatives that own the company, which is the largest producer of Chile's national spirit, voted that Capel's winery and olive oil holdings should be sold to help pay the company's current bank overdraft.

The extraordinary general meeting gave the board of directors the power to dispose of the holdings without further consultations.

Pisco Capel hopes to have sold its winery business by mid-2002. The board announced it was almost ready to begin the bidding process, although no price has yet been set on the winery.

"This was definitely the best decision we could have taken," Capel Deputy Manager Roberto Salinas said. "We need to reduce our debts so it was absolutely fundamental that we sell these assets."