The company unveiled Berberana No 1 at the Wines From Spain fair on Feb 21, a duo of vibrantly-presented, contemporary Vino de la Tierra de Castilla wines target ing the 25-plus market, and female drinkers in particular.
United Wineries managing director Richard Macadam hopes the new wines will "reach out to non-Spanish wine consumers and act as a stepping stone to Rioja". He added: "Spain needs stronger brands and brands to make a statement and we see Berberana as the strongest contender."
Positioned at £5.99, Berberana No 1 debuts with a Tempranillo and a Tempranillo/Shiraz - the range may be extended to include a white and a rosé.
The first cavas in the Berberana brand - a brut and rosé pitched at £6.99 - will be launched in May.
United Wineries has also concluded an 18-month review of its wine and hotel business and plans to be listed on AIM (London Stock Exchange's international market for smaller companies), by the end of 2007. Macadam said the move is intended to raise additional capital to continue its programme of investment in distribution which has started in northern Europe. He said: "We can add value in distribution - we're working on a different business model to our competitors - and we will look at retail in the future."
Rioja shipments to the UK totalled 27.8 million litres in 2006, according to the Rioja Regulatory Council - a rise of 13.8 per cent volume and 22.17 per cent value over the year.