American Wine Buyers Clamor for Portuguese Wine at SevenFifty House Master Class

Jun 07, 2019

According to a 2018 study conducted at ProWein by Geisenheim University, Portugal is the country that is most sought after by international wine buyers looking to expand their portfolios. It’s no surprise, then, that 30 American wine buyers jumped at the opportunity to taste a dozen Portuguese wines at a recent trade-only master class at the newly launched SevenFifty House in Manhattan’s Flatiron District.

Held on Monday, May 20 and led by Eugénio Jardim, the U.S. ambassador for Wines of Portugal, the class highlighted the traditions and trends within Portuguese wine through a tasting of 12 red and white wines from Alentejo to Vinho Verde. While buyers tasted these wide-ranging and over-delivering wines—none retailed for more than $37 per bottle » comment: Change in a way that is not perceived as cheap wine, but instead wines that over deliver—Jardim highlighted the many reasons why Portuguese wines are on the rise in the U.S. and around the world.

While modern techniques like temperature control and stainless steel fermentation have made Portuguese wines more approachable for the average consumer, the country has also maintained and perfected traditional techniques, like vinification in talha, or amphora, and foot treading. “Many traditional techniques that Portuguese wineries have been doing for ages are fashionable now,” said Jardim. By blending the modern with the traditional, Portugal strikes a balance of accessibility and heritage, both of which are important to today’s consumer.

Although Portugal has a long mastery of blending, which is certainly trending with the American consumer—red blends in particular comprise one of the fastest-growing and most popular categories of wine consumption today—Jardim also highlighted the move towards single varietal bottling within the country’s regions. “Single varietal bottling offers better consumer recognition,” he said. “Each winemaking area can showcase site superiority for the grapes it grows.” Buyer attendees were able to taste some of Portugal’s 250 native grape varieties in their glasses at the master class, experiencing varietal Touriga Nacional and Alvarinho alongside red and white regional blends.

But most importantly, Jardim spurred master class attendees to take charge of the movement to fully embrace Portugal’s wide range of wines. Though tourism has increased consumer recognition of Portuguese wines, it’s up to the buyers to meet the demand at home. “The thing we want to combat is short term memory,” said Jardim. “If you have been blown away by the wines while you were in Portugal, demand them at home.”

Please read the full event recap on SevenFifty Daily.

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