The US wine giant E&J Gallo is to target the UK on-trade having signed a strategic partnership with the wholesaler Waverley Wines & Spirits.

Under the arrangement, Waverley Wines & Spirits will represent and distribute the Ernest & Julio Gallo wine portfolio to the on-trade across the UK, excluding Northern Ireland.

Gallo said that the UK on-trade is a relatively un-tapped market for its wines and believes that the deal will provide an "ideal route to make an impact on this market", including access to Scottish Courage outlets.

David Bradley, E&J Gallo's sales director, said: "This strategic alliance is a significant move for us, and demonstrates our determination to make in-roads into the on-trade market. As a sign of our commitment, we are investing substantially during the coming years.  We are confident this partnership with Waverley will potentially lead to further developments for instance joint sourcing and branding initiatives."
 
Managing director of Waverley Group, Ewen Cameron, said: "E&J Gallo's diverse brand portfolio is perfectly suited to the on-trade and we relish the opportunity to be part of this new drive. Our recent research has high-lighted the importance of strong brands in the on-Trade - and Gallo's portfolio has a brand for every occasion."

Waverley Wines & Spirits is the largest specialist wine and spirits wholesaler to the on-trade in the UK with over a 15% market share, and is part of Scottish and Newcastle plc.