The planet's largest winemaker, Constellation Brands of the USA - whose stable includes Hardys wine and Corona beer - is reportedly set to crash the soirée a trois planning a cosy carve-up of Britain's Allied Domecq.

It is expected Constellation will move within days to trump the joint offer currently on Allied's table from Pernod Ricard of France and Fortune Brands of the USA.

In particular, the interloper is said to be eying Allied's wine assets in Spain, New Zealand and California, among them the Montana label, Clos du Bois and the highly-respected Gary Farrell Winery.

Thus far, no comment is forthcoming from Allied, perhaps because a trumping bid has yet to arrive on its doormat. Those close to Constellation say that US liquor giant Brown-Forman may also be party to the intervention.

Other names bandied around the rumour mill are Japan's Suntory and Bacardi of France. While some say they would be surprised if global numero uno Diageo stood idly by while those lower down the food chain pick over Allied's bones.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff