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Top design accolade for novel wine label that illustrates a ‘dilemma’

A novel label from Symington Family Estates that was launched to illustrate a Portuguese wine “dilemma” has picked up a Gold medal in The Design and Packaging Masters by the drinks business.

Featuring a word search on the front label, the new brand is called Pequeno Dilema – meaning ‘little dilemma’ in Portuguese – and was created to reference a predicament facing the Port producer for “decades”: can the Douro, which is famous for producing powerful fortified wines, also make fine whites?

According to the company, DOC Douro Branco Pequeno Dilema is “a fresh, elegant, and emphatic answer to that question.”

The wine features a puzzle of letters that contain several hidden words pertaining to the wine, which is a barrel-aged white made from a range of Portuguese grape varieties, such as Viosinho, Gouveio, Arinto, and Alvarinho.

If you are struggling to find the terms within the word search, you can log on to a new website for the wine that lists the answers, encouraging consumers to find out more about the blend.

Pequeno Dilema was entered in to db’s Design and Packaging Masters, where it was judged earlier this month in London alongside a range of wines from around the world by myself, as well as wine expert and buyer Jonathan Pedley MW, wine writer and drinks consultant Douglas Blyde, and Neil Tully MW – founder and creative director of wine industry design and branding specialists, Amphora Design.

Pedley was impressed by the design, declaring it “original” and “an inexpensive way of doing something different”, while Blyde said that “it would appeal to wine geeks, who are the sort of people who would drink this” – suggesting it had been well-tailored towards its target market.

Meanwhile, Tully said that not only was the idea “fun”, and “clever”, but would “drive engagement”, with all the judges awarding it high-enough scores to receive a Gold medal in the competition.

Speaking exclusively to db ahead of the launch of Pequeno Dilema in November last year, marketing director at Symington Family Estates, Rob Symington, said that he believed it was possible to make “superpremium white wine from the Douro”, despite the region’s reputation primarily for richly-sweet fortified red wines.

Commenting that Pequeno Dilema would prove that the Douro can produce fine whites, he said that the wine had come about on the back of “20 years of learning”, helped by the Symington’s experimental vineyard at 600 metre above sea level in the Pinhão valley, where the group has been “studying” 11 white varieties.

Before the launch of Pequeno Dilema, Symington Family Estates made two white wines from the Douro, Altano Branco and Altano Branco Reserva, but had decided to launch a new, more upmarket label in the hope that “it would change the reputation of white wines from the Douro.”

Answers to the word search that feature on the wine’s front label can be found on

As previously written about by db, the Douro is able to produce whites with a delicacy that defies expectations due to plantations at higher elevations in the region – sometimes around 600m above sea level – along with the use of well-adapted, heat-and-drought-resistant varieties. Further benefitting the production of fine whites are the region’s schistose soils, expert viticulture and a better understand of when to pick the grapes to retain freshness.

Both a proponent and accomplished producer of crisp, fine whites from the Douro is managing director of Quinta do Noval, Christian Seely, who last year released a Branco Reserva, which is a €70 barrel-fermented blend of Viosinho and Gouveio grapes.

“I am really excited by the potential for white wine in the Douro,” he told db last year just as the harvest was starting for white grapes at Noval, which were planted at the highest point on the estate 15 years ago.

Continuing he said, “In spite of being a hot country, the whites express a freshness and minerality, which comes as a surprise,” before commenting, “The white wines from the Douro sometimes have a note that reminds me of Chablis.”

With Pequeno Dilema described as having “remarkable freshness and citric acidity”, along with “lovely floral notes and hints of vanilla and honeysuckle,” Rupert Symington, Symington Family Estates’ CEO, said that the wine “is proof that the Douro region is capable of producing exceptional white wines.”

“We searched across our vineyards for grapes that could deliver the freshness required to produce an elegant white wine and found our answer in Tapadinha and Chões – two of our highest vineyards,” he added.

The results in full from The Design & Packaging Masters 2023 will be featured in the February edition of the drinks business and released on on 16 February.

To enter the competition, as well as others from db’s Global Wine Masters series, visit the Global Masters website or please call: +44 (0) 20 7803 2420 or email Sophie Raichura at:

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