A competition designed to improve German wine's position in the UK has begun to pay off. The German Wine Institute provided £15,000 of marketing funding for each of the wine producer winners who put forward the best new wines and marketing programmes in the eyes of an expert panel of judges. The five winners were announced at last year's London International Wine Trade Fair and all have since won listings in the off-trade. Masterpiece Riesling from St Ursula is stocked by Waitrose and Safeway. Spokesman Peter Hartwig said: "This initiative has enabled us to turn a strong product concept into a reality and develop a consumer focused wine." Ernst Loosen, who created 1999 Villa Wolf Pinot Gris, now listed by Waitrose, said: "Demand has exceeded our expectations. This is down to the funding we have received from the GWI as we have been able to spend more on designing the package and marketing to both the trade and consumer. We have earmarked a substantially bigger allocation of the 2000 vintage to the UK market.' The 2001 version of the initiative will be launched on February 13. {{DRINKS }}