Grand Met sells two wine labels

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GRAND Metropolitan is selling Almaden and Inglenook wines in its push to concentrate on drinks brands giving higher profit margins, writes John Shepherd. The buyer is Canandaigua, the second- largest wine producer in the US whose brands include Paul Masson and Taylor California wines.

Canandaigua will buy four wineries from IDV, the Grand Met subsidiary and the world's leading wines and spirits company. The wineries include one in Madeira and another in Reedley, California.

Grand Met did not disclose the sale price, but said the businesses' turnover was dollars 235m in the year to last September. John McGrath, chairman of IDV, said the sale fitted the strategy of concentrating on premium wine brands such as Beaulieu Vineyard, Blossom Hill, Glen Ellen, and Mouton Cadet.

IDV's spirits portfolio includes Smirnoff vodka, Jose Cuervo tequila, and J&B Rare, the world's second best-selling whisky.

Almaden and Inglenook are the third and sixth biggest-selling wines in the US. More than 8 million cases, or 96 million bottles, of Almaden are sold annually.