Chilean wine group San Pedro has parted company with its UK agent Buckingham Vintners.

San Pedro, Chile's second-largest wine exporter, and Buckingham Vintners had worked together in the UK for 18 years but today (5 February) they announced the end of their relationship.

The two companies were coy about the reasons behind the decision. In a joint statement, they said they both needed to "pursue their own objectives within the UK market".

Stuart Downes, San Pedro's export director, thanked Buckingham Vintners for its "support and enthusiasm".

San Pedro, which produces wine brand 35º South, said it would make an announcement on the UK distribution of its wines "in due course". Company officials in Santiago could not be reached for further comment as just-drinks went to press.

Buckingham Vintners marketing manager Jon Pepper said the distributor is in talks to add a new Chilean winery to its portfolio. He declined to comment further on the reasons behind the end of the agent's agreement with San Pedro.

Last month, Swiss group Schenk upped its stake in Buckingham Vintners to an undisclosed amount. Pepper, however, insisted Buckingham Vintners enjoyed decision-making autonomy. He said: "Schenk has always taken the very strong policy that the companies that it invests in are able to look after themselves."