In a move likely to upset neighbouring Chile, Peru's government has announced plans to apply for an international patent on its national Pisco drink, a grape brandy produced in South America's Andes region.

However any patenting effort made by Peru, which producers hope if granted will result in increased exports is expected to draw resistance from Chilean producers who claim it originated in Chile.

Like Peru, Chileans have been enjoying Pisco since the colonial period and both countries patented Pisco within their own borders in 1989.

Defending the decision Teresa Mere, president of Peru's Intellectual Property Protection Institute (Indecopi) said that Peru has been historically recognised as the birthplace of the traditional drink.

Insisting that Peru's production is far more advanced than that of its southern neighbour Mere also claims that Chile has not been recognised abroad as Pisco's birthplace.

About 1,000 hectares of Peruvian vineyards are dedicated to Pisco production and this year the country is expected to produce some 1.5m litres.

The 2000-2005 World Outlook for Wines and Brandy