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Published:  23 July, 2008

New World specialist supplier Brand Phoenix has ventured into South America and signed distribution deals with both a Chilean and an Argentinian producer. In a separate deal, the company has also moved into France with the launch of a joint-venture branded wine. Heading up the South American operation is former Safeway buyer Tim Ranscombe, who joins BP later this month. From Chile comes Copra, which offers wines from two brands, Gracia and Porta. BP director Greg Wilkins said that at first they would concentrate on five wines from the Porta label (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah), at 5.99 each. The Argentinian brand is Trapiche, which BP shares with Haymen Barwell Jones (with BP taking the top 10 off-trade customers and HBJ concentrating on independents and the on-trade). Four wines will initially be offered: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, also all at 5.99. Back in the Old World, BP has formed a joint venture with Bordeaux-based producer Sichel, launching Renaissance, a branded French table wine. Wilkins told Harpers that the idea behind Renaissance was to maximise the blending opportunity' in the same way as California sources from its Central Valley and Australia from the Riverland. On that basis, Renaissance is a basic non-vintage, red and white, 3.99 blended table wine, both sourced from southwest France. It has no listings as yet.