The German drinks group A Racke has reported strong growth in its international business in the 2005/2006 fiscal year, with international volumes up by 18% and an 8% rise in international turnover.

As a whole, the company's turnover reached EUR132m (US$169m) for the fiscal year to the end of June, the Bingen-based group said.

Racke said that the growth in its international business has "proved to be an important future prospect for the company and a further step towards the strategic goal of internationalisation and expanding its wine brands network".

The company reported a particularly strong performance from its affiliates in Poland, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, as well as from its South African wine brand Golden Kaan. The company has recently looked to emulate the success of Golden Kaan with the launch of a Chilean wine joint venture Espiritu de Chile.

"The further growth of our international joint-venture brands Golden Kaan and Espiritu de Chile is of vital importance for Racke's future development," said Racke CEO Marcus Moller-Racke.

However, the news for Racke on the German domestic market was a little less encouraging. The company reported a 3% decline in turnover in Germany which it attributed to competitive market conditions in the wine sector and downward pressure on consumer wine prices. The company said that it had not entered the price-cutting fray, retaining prices for its popular premium range, and even raising prices for some brands.