Wines of Portugal UK: Indies are perfect for explaining "myriad of grapes" to shoppers

Independent retailers have been earmarked as a key sector for growth for Portuguese wines in 2020, according to trade body, Wines of Portugal UK. 

Sonia Vieira, marketing director at Wines of Portugal, told DRN: “Independents are an important sector for Portuguese wines as our regions and myriad of grapes can be explained to consumers. High street retailers are good for us as well and Portuguese wines always offer a point of difference to these merchants.From the information we have been able to gather from wine producers we do feel that Portuguese wines are selling more in the off-trade.

Vieira said a key part of the trade body’s strategy for 2020 in the UK is today’s annual tasting event for Portuguese wines, whereby more than 72 producers and their importers are presenting new vintages and wines to the trade and press. The event will be followed by a special Three Wine Men consumer tasting event.

She said: “Our treasure is actually our grapes: we have more than 250 to show to the world. Touriga Nacional or Alvarinho are well-known by the UK consumers but we have much more to offer. “Regarding that, in 2018 we organised a tasting called “Hidden Gems” with that specific purpose, introducing wine experts to other grapes that are not so well known like Rufete, Viosinho or even Sousão. 

“The variety Portugal has to offer is endless and this is what we always try to show. Portugal is a safe choice if you want to positively surprise a customer.”

For retailers Vieira recommends stocking a good range of Portuguese wines because “they are hugely enjoyable” and because many are produced by small to medium-sized producers who are passionate about their vineyards and their regions. 

She said: “We are master of blends, this is what we’ve been doing for centuries, bringing the specificity and profile of each region in each bottle. Our grapes are a huge asset that our producers perfectly know how to use to produce wines in all styles that international consumers will enjoy without losing their personality. And independents really are our partners in helping Portuguese producers to sell more in the UK as they see a huge potential in our wines.”

Wines of Portugal UK will also be ramping up its presence on social media, including an upgrade of its accounts to Wines of Portugal UK (@WPTUK), along with a new Instagram account. 

It also has other activity planned for the year ahead. 

Vieira said: “We know that almost all the top sommeliers from all over the world come to the UK to further their education and taste wines from every corner of the globe. With this in mind and knowing how important Portuguese wines are to the UK’s on-trade, we are developing an exciting new initiative to show them our wines. 

“We are going to hold tastings in three different locations in London, with each one showing a different styles of Portuguese wines. We want to be able to truly demonstrate the diversity of our country's production.

“It will be an opportunity to use different venues to showcase the most modern styles of wine, from all levels, that Portugal is offering. We will also be choosing a Portuguese location so that we can also show how these wines work when paired with Portuguese food.

“We were also pleased to be one of the main sponsors at this year’s People's Choice Wine Awards, where we were able to show our enthusiasm for new producers by sponsoring the Unsigned Talent category and are also working with the awards to encourage more Portuguese wine producers to enter in the future.”