Vintage Port deserves more marketing

The declaration of a vintage Port needs greater fanfare thinks Matt Douglas, managing director of Stevens Garnier.

Speaking of the recently declared 2011 vintage, Douglas (who distributes Sogrape’s Ports such as Sandeman) explained that it was the first time that all of the Port houses had really supported the declaration with tastings and some marketing.

“2011 has gone down remarkably well,” he explained. “The wines have always sold but normally it doesn’t have the marketing it deserves.

“This year we all had tastings and events for 2011 and it was a really successful declaration. Of course 2011 is a fantastic vintage too.”

He added that the declaration of a vintage Port, which only happens in the very best years, should also be taken as a signal that the table wines will be good too.

“It’s not always the case,” he admitted, “But people don’t make that connection.”

He continued that there was more interest in Portuguese wines from the trade and “wine interested people” but that was not being converted into increased sales.

One of the problems he picked out was that Portuguese producers do not follow the usual label “recipe”.

Not that that he considered it a bad thing but he said it made it a harder sell.

‘There are no varieties on the label,” he said, “no winemaker photo on the back. It’s good Portugal doesn’t follow that recipe but it’s also a shame as it makes it harder to sell.

“It was France’s problem for a long time. Now all the Loire wines that can have Sauvignon Blanc on the label.”

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