Southcorp wines has announced that Japan's leading drinks producer and distributor Suntory is to exclusively distribute the Lindemans brand in Japan.

To date Southcorp has sold its Lindemans wines direct to wholesalers in Japan, but as of this week, Suntory has begun marketing a portfolio of 11 Lindemans wines to supermarkets, liquor stores, hotels and restaurants throughout Japan.

Southcorp managing director for the Australasian and Asia regions Peter Cowan said the company expected to realise significant benefits in moving Lindemans to the Suntory Group.

He said: "Australian Wine Export Council figures show Japanese consumers have developed a real thirst for Australian wines with sales to Japan topping the A$40m (US$) mark for the first time in March this year."

He said that although Lindemans already had a good presence in Japan, the group was looking to quadruple sales in the next year.

"Suntory has the most extensive distribution network and promotional ability in the Japanese wine market," Cowan said.

Suntory has managed the Penfold's brand in Japan for 20 years and Cowan said he was looking to "replicate that success".