Brand stays but Montana name to go

By JOELLE THOMSON

Montana Wines will soon be no more.

The country's largest winery will sever a tie with its New Zealand heritage by adopting a new name on September 1.

Montana ceased to be New Zealand-owned when it was bought 3 1/2 years ago by Allied Domecq, the second-largest wine and spirits company in the world, based in Britain.

Montana managing director Brian Johnston told staff yesterday that from next month, the company would trade as Allied Domecq New Zealand.

Montana Wines was founded in 1961 and was predominantly a fortified wine producer until Frank Yukich, one of the sons of founder Ivan Yukich, led the company to plant vineyards in Marlborough in the early 1970s.

Today, Montana Wines has 30 per cent of bottled wine sales by value in New Zealand and is responsible for almost 50 per cent of all the country's wine exports.

Johnston would not say whether the name change would lead to new wine brands but said no existing brands would be dropped.

Montana's portfolio includes other leading wine brands such as Corbans, Church Road and Stoneleigh.

Johnson said it had not always been ideal for the company to share its name with one brand.

"Business news relating to the company may not always fit well with the positioning of the Montana wine brand."

Likewise, individual brands had not benefited from being marketed by a company identified with only one label.

Johnston said it was only the trade that would see the immediate change.

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