Winemakers in New Zealand have attacked the decision by one of their ranks to sell Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc in casks in the UK, claiming it is undermining the image they have worked hard to cultivate for the wine.

The news seems to have created quite a storm in New Zealand, with one local report saying: "Marlborough's wine industry has been rocked by the news that their premium brand is being bagged and boxed for sale at the Tesco supermarket chain."

However the Christchurch company Cottesbrook Wine at the centre of the controversy has defended its move saying it is reaching a wider market.

But New Zealand Winegrowers deputy chairman Willie Crosse was quoted today in saying: "I think a lot of Marlborough growers and wine producers will be cool towards this fellow.

"They might take the view that this sort of action undermines the value of the brand and the investment and commitment they have made. They may feel aggrieved."

But Cottesbrook countered saying that it was opening a market nor previously available for Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. It also said that the packaging reflected New Zealand Wine Growers' objective to ensure that New Zealand wine was sold as a premium product.

Furthermore with a price tag of £20 for thre litres, it claims to be selling Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc at a higher price than a number of bottled versions of the wine in the UK supermarket segment.