Three Port shippers are for sale as consolidation continues to bite in the Douro Valley.

Industry sources have named the producers as Barros, Da Silva and Messias - representing about 10% of the industry - but it is understood that no deal for any of them is imminent.

Some Port shippers have been known to be looking for outside investment recently, but no names have been made public before now. The volume end of the Port sector has been suffering for some time from low pricing and fierce competition in markets like France and Belgium.

Barros is well-known for its aged tawnies and colheitas, and boasts two A-grade vineyards in Quinta de S. Luiz and Quinta Doña Matilde. It is understood that the company has been courting investors for some time.

Meanwhile, Da Silva is primarily an own-label supplier, and Messias sells mostly on the domestic market, where price competition can also be fierce.

Prime candidates to snap up one or all of the shippers include The Fladgate Partnership - which recently bought the assets of Osborne - the Symington family, Sogrape and Galician bank Caixa Nova, which owns Cálem and recently bought Burmester.

None of the three companies would comment on the situation.