Southcorp Wines Executive General Manager, Tom Park, today announced the external appointment of John Handel to the role of President - North America. A business which turned over 1.9 million cases worth $US85 million in 1999.

Mr. Handel, who will commence the position on 1 June 2000, was previously President and Chief Operating Officer at Lockwood Vineyard, a California-based wine company. He is also a former Director of Operations for Canandaigua (Monterey County), Executive Vice-President with Vintners International United States winery operations and Vice-President Operations for Seagram's Wines.

"John brings a wealth of experience to the role, which will provide the North American business with additional strength as it embarks on its next phase of growth," said Mr. Park.

Tim Matz, Vice President of Sales for Southcorp Wines North America said, "I am delighted to welcome John to our North American team as we believe he will bring immense experience to our company across a range of disciplines."

John is a business graduate from San Diego University and his experience covers operations, marketing, sales, systems and administration management. He will report directly to Tom Park.

Tom Park, also today, announced the restructure of the global operations of the Wine Group.

Four profit centers, North America, the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia, have been established with the aim of achieving further significant growth and becoming a truly global branded wine company.

"We will move to an organization structure where the four operating regions of our business will report directly to myself, and the regional heads will share in the process of setting global strategic direction and priorities.

"Additionally this structure will allow us to leverage our global resources, such as vineyard management, wine making, IT and other global processes, to actively facilitate the growth of all wine units around the world," Mr. Park said.

Southcorp Wines' businesses in North America, the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia have grown from 1.5 million cases, worth $45 million in 1991, to 7 million cases, worth $352 million in 1999.

For the past eight years, the Wine Group international businesses have been managed by David Combe, who will now take on the challenge of Group General Manager - External Relations, a position focused on supporting the Southcorp Wines business globally.

Overall, Mr. Park said Southcorp Wines was well positioned to maintain long-term growth.

For further information on Southcorp Wines, visit the Wines of Distinction web site -

Editors Note: Southcorp Wines is Australia's largest wine producer and exporter and currently ranks as the seventh largest wine company in the world. It is believed to be the world's largest producer of premium red wine and the world's largest private premium vineyard holder. Southcorp Wines is wholly owned by Southcorp Ltd., a diversified company serving global markets.