A sponsorship deal with reality television series Come Dine With Me has helped sales of Hardys wine to strongly outperform the UK market in the last 12 months, according to Constellation Europe.

Sales of Hardys in the UK rose by 19% in value in the 12 months to the end of April, according to Neil Anderson, Constellation Europe's marketing head for its Australia and New Zealand wines.

The rise compares to an Australian wine category up 1% and total UK wine sales up 6% in value over the same period, said Anderson at a Constellation even in London last night (11 May).

Anderson attributed a large part of Hardys' success to Come Dine With Me, which has gained a regular slot on UK television over the last year. Constellation has expanded the deal by setting up Come Dine With Me promotions in Tesco supermarkets across the country.

The show features four amateur cooks who take in turns to host a dinner party for the other contestants at their house. The winner receives GBP1,000.

Constellation's Echo Falls will take over the sponsorship of the show from Hardys during the summer months. Hardys will return in September.

Constellation Europe is currently working on a new business plan following the collapse of merger talks with Australian Vintage in April.