A group of five South African wineries have amalgamated their efforts to establish a new international marketing force - Afrivin.

The new entity will look after the interests of two new brands from West Coast Vineyards (WCV), the wines of Bonnievale Cellar and Van Schoor Estate from the Robertson region, those of Du Toitskloof Winery from Worcester and the Birdfield range from the Klawer Winery in the Olifants River.

WCV, a Paarl-based wine company, will hold the management contract, with Ansias Londt, formerly of Distell, in the driving seat as marketing director. Each winery will remain responsible for its own domestic marketing.

Londt, who has 20 years international drinks marketing experience to his credit, accepts he has a long road ahead establishing markets for his new portfolio of wines.

"I have done this before, having worked in the EU market for a number of years, so it's nothing new. We will initially be concentrating on the UK, Benelux, German and Scandinavian markets, while looking at the US and Asia.

"We have a good range of wines and are able to supply everything from premium to big volumes of wine, where price and quality are carefully balanced. Because they come from diverse areas of the Cape, each winery has unique characteristics on which we can concentrate.

"There is a good varietal mix from each cellar, though the balance is weighted heavily in favour of noble wines. We have Shiraz, Pinotage, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc in different price ranges.

"This gives us flexibility to meet the needs of both the on and off trade, including volumes for boutique shops to supermarkets.

"Participating at Cape Wine 2002, gave us a good indication of the global acceptability of our products and we were extremely happy with the response from the buyers. We intend holding our official launch at the London International Wine & Spirits Fair," said Ansias Londt.

The board of directors representing the shareholders are: Jannie Vermeulen (Chairman - WCV), Anton Smuts (Bonnievale) Willem Botha (Klawer) Mike Van Schoor (Van Schoor) and Johan de Wet (Du Toitskloof).