The winners of the Wines of Portugal competition in Off Licence News held a range of successful events and tastings last month as part of the prize.

Entrants to the competition were offered the chance to win £1,000 of Portuguese wines to use for in-store promotional activities.

Independent retailers have been central to the growth of Portuguese wine in the UK, and the promotion was designed to encourage retailers to explore Portuguese wines further to and to generate consumer excitement.

Events at Vinea in Liverpool included a wine tasting at Vinea; the inclusion of Portuguese wines at the Liverpool Food and Drink Festival Autumn Wine Fair, which also saw a 30-minute Portuguese wine masterclass; free mini-tasting sessions on Sundays throughout the month; and a Portuguese food-and-wine pairing evening.

All the events sold out.

“We had a great response,” said Vinea’s Kelly Warner. “We found a lot of our customers weren’t very clued up on Portuguese wines or the grape varieties but are very open to learn and try something new.

“After trying a number of different grape varieties on our tastings they could see the wide variety of wines Portugal has to offer.

“I think the food and wine pairing was a great night as most wines were fuller bodied and worked much better with food.

“We’ve seen a few of our regulars come back and re-order some of the wines tried on the tastings so always good for us to see that competitions like these are worthwhile.”

Dina Martins of London’s A  Portuguese Love Affair, was equally enthusiastic. “We ended up doing three tastings within two weeks, which worked very well for us as we managed to get our clients to know more Portuguese wines,” she said.

“It was like a real tour throughout Portuguese diversity and the feedback couldn’t be more positive. We actually had customers suggesting a wine society to take this wine business to next level.

“Sales went up three times which is great and it’s been like that since then.

“We used to do one wine tasting a month, but now we are considering at least two from January onwards.”

Nuno Vale, marketing director of Wines of Portugal, said: “This promotion has gone some way in raising awareness of some of the exceptional wines that Portugal has to offer.

There is growing momentum behind Portuguese wines in the UK as consumers strive to discover more interesting and original wine styles.

“They are increasingly searching for authenticity and heritage which suits Portugal very well: we are uniquely placed to give UK customers a new, authentic alternative while also providing great value for money.”

The other competition winners were Baythorne Hall in Essex and Luvians in St Andrews, Fife.