Australia's Petaluma wine group, target of a bid by brewer Lion Nathan, had a fillip this week when a court ruling upheld the integrity of its flagship red wine.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal ruled that Petaluma, threatened with exclusion, was among 24 wineries included within the Coonawarra classification of Australia's formal new appellation system, which has defined 61 wine regions.

Coonawarra, in the south east of South Australia, because of its particular red soil and perceived add-on value was the most fiercely contested ruling. The tribunal finding can be appealed but only on matters of legal interpretation. Petaluma Coonawarra is a table red which is one of the pillars of the brand's reputation.