Chile's largest wine producer San Pedro has ploughed US$5m into its Viña Altaïr joint venture in an effort to reduce debts at the company.

Viña Altaïr, which is based in Chile's Cachapoal Valley and is a venture between San Pedro and Bordeaux's Chateau Dassault, has struggled since its formation in 2002.

The venture, whose flagship label Altaïr sells for up to $100 a bottle, has seen earnings hit by the strength of the Chilean peso. But San Pedro and Chateau Dassault have decided to persevere with the venture after crisis talks were held recently on the future of the business.

A spokesman for San Pedro added that Altaïr has suffered due to its lack of standing among consumers compared to ultra-premium wines like Grange and Opus One.

"Consumers are not accustomed to paying that kind of money for New World wine," he told just-drinks today (4 December). "Like every company that you start, it's tough at the beginning to get people to appreciate your product."

Chateau Dassault has also invested US$5m to alleviate the venture's debts, which stand at around US$12m.

The San Pedro spokesman added that the companies are "committed" to the venture.