Pacific Wine Partners, BRL's Hardy's US joint venture with Constallation Brands, is gearing up for further expansion in the US with the purchase of a North Coast wine-making facility formerly belonging to the St Francis Winery.

Pacific Wine Partners is to use the Sonoma winery for the production of the fast-growing Blackstone brand, which it acquired last year for £290m. "This high-exposure facility will be used predominantly to meet the rapidly increasing demand for wines under the Blackstone brand," said Pacific Wine Partners president and CEO, Jose Fernandez.
 
BRL Hardy said the acquisition of the winery was another step in its strategy to grow both US and Australian wine sales in the US.

"The Blackstone brand clearly is going to be a significant contributor to PWP's growth in the US - its potential is unlimited," said BRL managing director, Stephen Millar. "The new winemaking facilities will help drive that growth. We have already had very encouraging results from the first eight months of PWP's operations and we expect the joint venture to make a significant contribution to BRL Hardy's 2002 result."