Major investment in wine shipping

Constellation plans to build the biggest bonded warehouse in Europe alongside a bottling plant, as part of its plans to increase the amount of wine it ships in bulk and bottles in the UK.

The project will expand its existing distribution centre in Avonmouth, near Bristol, and should be up and running by 2009. Building is due to start in June.

The centre will cover 870,000 sq ft , have capacity for 80,000 more pallets, or 53 million more bottles of wine, and will be able to fill around 120 million bottles of wine a year.

The current distribution centre handles 24 million bottles.

Modern office space will be included in the development and Constellation plans environmentally-friendly elements , such as solar panels, wind turbines, and low carbon impact heating and cooling .

Constellation Europe president Troy Christensen said: "This is tremendously exciting because it will deliver greater flexibility, greater efficiency and expanded capacity to be able to grow our business."

Constellation's biggest-selling UK brands include Hardys and Kumala.