Johannesburg - Distell [JSE:DST] has acquired a significant stake in UK-based wine distributor BrandPhoenix in a bid to strengthen its wine brands in that market. BrandPhoenix is the owner of FirstCape, the top-selling South African wine brand that holds third position in the UK retail market. The deal, for an undisclosed sum, would allow Distell to work in partnership with BrandPhoenix to grow the Distell wine business within Britain's major multiple retailers, it said. Carina Gous, who heads the Distell wine business division, said: "By investing in BrandPhoenix with its balanced portfolio of international wine brands, backed by strong marketing, sales and logistics skills, we are confident we can advance our joint footprint in the UK. To harness the joint market collateral of FirstCape and Distell in particular will crucially go towards offering the UK trade a one-stop South African wine solution." BrandPhoenix director Greg Wilkins said Distell brought with it additional premium quality brands such as Nederburg, Two Oceans and JC le Roux sparkling wines. "The relationship will also strengthen our wine supply base in SA," he said.Steve Rosser, another BrandPhoenix director, said the firm was planning an aggressive growth campaign for South African wines in the UK.Distell is the tenth-largest wine marketer worldwide. "While tough trading conditions have prompted many producers from all over the world to retreat from the country, we believe the UK, as one of the world's major wine importers, still offers exciting potential and profitability if managed correctly," Gous said.