The news yesterday that UK drinks giant Allied Domecq has raised its stake in Peter Lehmann Wines to 5.4%, has prompted speculation that the owner of Beefeater and Kahlua is mounting a takeover of the winemaker.

However in the Australian press today the Lehman family said it and the company's shareholders will resist any takeover bid by a foreign company.

The company founder Peter Lehmann said he fears what impact a foreign company would have on growers and employees and that the family and the company's 3,600 shareholders ahev a sense of pride in their winery.

Meanwhile industry sources agreed that Lehmann would be a good acquisition for Allied. And Allied spokeswoman was quoted today as confirming the group's interest.

"A 5.4 per cent stake puts us in a good position but there are many options available." However, she declined to comment on whether the company, which is the world's fourth-biggest wine owner, was mounting a full bid.