Southcorp confirmed today that its president and CEO, Graham Kraehe and Tom Park, MD of Southcorp Wines, are in California for talks with a number of US wine companies.E&J Gallo and Kendall-Jackson were among the companies being visited, a Southcorp spokesman said, the primary purpose being for Park, who has been head of Southcorp Wines, for only five months, to meet US wine industry reported yesterday that Kraehe and Park were in the US with Kendall-Jackson in their sights.The visit comes only a week after Foster’s Brewing Group announced that it was acquiring California’s Beringer Wines to merge with Mildara Blass.Southcorp was widely tipped industry leaders to be the front-runner for Beringer in the race to forge the first major US-Australia deal as part of globalisation of the industry. Several have expressed surprise that Foster’s won the race.BRL Hardy, also reported to have been interested in Beringer, is now understood to believe that it can expand globally on its own and via joint ventures.CLARIFICATION: Robert Mondavi Wines, as reported in yesterday, held talks in Australia last week with both BRL Hardy and Rosemount Wines about joint venture opportunities but no deals were finalized. The US company is understood to have kept its options open and not switched negotiations from BRL Hardy to Rosemount, as was indicated.

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