Vin de Pays competition helps strengthen trade

Past trophy winners in OLN's Top 100 Vins de Pays competition have told how their win helped them strengthen ties and grow sales in the UK off-trade.

"After our win we changed the labelling on our vins de pays to make them more commercial and

readable," said Romain Petiteau, winemaker and sales manager of Loire valley-based Domaine de la Tourlaudière, which won the Cabernet Franc trophy in 2005 for its Vin de Pays du Jardin de la France.

"Our sales in independent wine merchants have grown a lot - that is due to the customer base

to whom our range most appeals. The trophy considerably tightened our links with our British agent, and sales of our whole range are growing ."

Vin de Pays d'Oc producer Preignes Le Vieux sealed a listing with Majestic Wine after winning the Petit Verdot trophy in 2006

and manager Jérôme Vic said sales

were doing well. "The win also helped indirectly by giving us a reputation for good quality and a

way of promoting our wines," he said.

Languedoc estate Les 3 Poules won the Cabernet Franc trophy in 2004. Owner Ruth Parker said the winery took off after its win , upping production to 25,000 bottles in 2005 from 7,000 in 2003. But she added that UK sales

were slow at the moment.

"For small vineyards like ourselves, our publicity budget has to be kept to a minimum, so it's a huge bonus that the Top 100 competition is free," she said.

To enter the

competition visit The closing date for entries is March 7

and all wines must be delivered by March 14.

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