Port heavyweights unite to take on Asia

The major Port names of Symington Estates and The Fladgate Partnership have united to push Port in Asia.

Speaking to the drinks business, Paul Symington, co-owner of Symington Estates, said that while the two may be competitors both recognised it was vital to work together if the fortified wines are to find a place in the burgeoning Asian market.

“We believe we have to do it ourselves,” said Symington. “That’s why we’ve teamed up with Fladgate to run the Port academy. They’re competitors but they believe as we do that it’s neccessary.”

Symington acknowledged that the market for Port was small and that while it was often a feature on many wine lists in top hotels and restaurants in the region, it was only there because the owners wanted to have it and it often remianed unsold.

The new Port academy is aimed at teaching consumers on the best glassware for drinking Port and when it should be consumed – a tricky proposition in Asia where puddings and cheese, Port’s traditional niche in Europe and the US, are virtually non-existant.

“We have to make Port relevant to Asia,” Symington continued, “We’re miles behind the others, which is why we have to do something about it, success is not going to fall into our lap.

“Asians are quite social and drink socially and we want Port to be part of that. the important thing is to get Port into a big glass and have people enjoying it.

Nevertheless, he was confident of Port’s prospects due to its appealing flavour profile and its prestige in markets such as the UK where it is part of banquets held by the likes of the royal family.

“Port suits Asia,” he said, “it’s sweet but it has balance. It’s not an acquired taste. We also need to tap into the prestige of vintage Port, it seems to work here and carries a lot of weight.

“There’s a lot of potentail here but it’s not going to fall into our lap.”

One way of adding to that prestige is the release of 300 double magnums of 1977 Dow’s, which will only be available in Hong Kong and which was adorning the Symington stand at Vinexpo Asia Pacific.

“It’s to make a statement,” admitted Symington.

2 Responses to “Port heavyweights unite to take on Asia”

  1. Rui Duarte says:

    Great news for the oldest classified wine region um the world.
    Its about time for the Portuguese wines to have correct recognition by the new markets.

  2. Euan Mackay, The Vintage Port Academy says:

    Just for the record, it is ‘The Vintage Port Academy’ and although the Academy is keen to communicate with the consumer, its initial objective is to help improve the knowledge and understanding of Port (and specially Vintage Port) with the trade including F&B managers, Sommeliers, Shop owners and their staff. The Academy now in its 3rd year will be in Hong Kong and Shanghai (for the first time) in late October to conduct its series of regular workshops and trade events. For further information please see the academy’s website: thevintageportacademy.com

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