Portugal rewards UK supporters27th February, 2014 by Gabriel Stone
The Association of Portuguese Wine Importers celebrated its 10th Wines of Portugal Awards last night, recognising some of the category’s biggest UK trade supporters.
Among the retailers, the Supermarket Award went to Waitrose, Oddbins won the Specialist Chain Award and The Merchant Award went to The Vineyard in Lancashire, while the runner up in this category was the New Street Wine Shop, an off-trade outlet set up by restaurant group D&D London in 2012.
Introducing the Online & Mail Order Award, which was won by The Wine Society with Averys as runner up, Anthony Habert of Stephens Garnier emphasised the growing importance of this sector for Portuguese wine in particular.
“It gives a national reach to the smallest merchant and the largest supermarket,” he commented, adding: “What it gives Portuguese wine is a platform to give more consumers more diversity without the constraints of shelf space.”
The Restaurant Award went to Viajante, with fellow London Michelin-starred destination Dinner by Heston Blumenthal named runner up.
The Journalism Award was given to Jane MacQuitty of The Times, although there was also runner up recognition for Graham Holter, editor of The Wine Merchant.
Hosted by the Portuguese ambassador, His Excellency Dr João de Vallera, in London, the event marked its anniversary by serving only 10 year old wines, from white, tawny and LBV Ports through to examples from Vinho Verde, Beiras, the Douro and Lisbon.
In his address, de Vallera highlighted “a growing synergy, which I believes exists and should be encouraged, between Portuguese tourism and oenology.”
Citing a recent report in the Portuguese press that wine is gradually replacing “the sun and beach” as the country’s main tourist attraction, he stressed the opportunity these 40 million annual visitors, of whom 1.4m are British, present to the Portuguese wine trade.