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Alentejo,Portugal,Wine

The Importing and Selling of Portuguese Wines ~ Who’s Doing It and Why?

I’m fascinated by the following facts, presented at the ViniPortugal wine tasting seminar by Evan Goldstein MS.

  • Portugal is the seventh largest exporter to the US
  • Their exports to us are growing at a staggering 34.7 percent in the last year
  • Their red wine exports to the US are up to 126.4 percent in the last three years

Obviously something important is going on, and I thought I’d go to few experts who import Portuguese wines to get their take on what’s afoot.

10 Things You Don’t Know About Portuguese Wine, Huffington Post, by Mary Orlin, on May 5, 2011. (Click in the link for full details):

  1. There is more to Portuguese wine than just port.
  2. A Portuguese dry wine is not port. Even if a traditional Port producer makes a dry wine.
  3. Portuguese wine equals value, value, value. Talk about bang for the buck.
  4. Most grape varietals for wine grown in Portugal are native, and you’ve probably never heard of them. Start learning.
  5. Vinho Verde is a wine region, not a grape varietal [sic].
  6. Port comes only from the Douro region, and the Alto Douro is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  7. Portugal is the 11th largest wine producer in the world.
  8. Portuguese wines carry an authenticity seal.
  9. Quinta on the label means wine estate.
  10. Tinto on a label most likely means that’s a red wine in the bottle.

For more of what the experts are saying about Portuguese wines, I’ve written this story and continue to update it, as I find more wine writers exposing the virtues: Portuguese Wines ~ What the Experts Are Saying ~ An Update.

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11 Responses to “The Importing and Selling of Portuguese Wines ~ Who’s Doing It and Why?”

  1. Peter says:

    To my knowledge, Vinho Verde is neither a grape variety nor a region. The region in question is the Minho.

  2. Tim Campbell says:

    Jo, thanks for helping the process of introducing and educating wine lovers on an often overlooked gem – still wines from Portugal. Almost by accident I was introduced a few years ago and it has been a real eye opener. Who knew the whites, reds and sparklers would be so amazing….and affordable?? My import portfolio brought in a set of Portuguese table wines and the reception around the USA has been great. Between a cool history, smart packaging, great wine profile and sensible pricing……a home run. I would encourage all wine lovers and enthusiasts to pick up 1-2 bottles of varying price points, and give them a try. The enjoyment will easily outweigh the investment!! I always tell people to shut their eyes and clear it of any preconceived ideas and profiles of wines they are used to enjoying. This is not California, this is not Italy…..enjoy with an open mind and palate. Too many folks trying Portuguese wines for the first time may say, “…well it does not taste like a Cabernet, or Rioja or Chianti..”, well guess what, it isn’t!! Happy to elaborate if any questions pop up…..thank you, again!

  3. Jo Diaz says:

    Peter,

    I’m going to give you a short version here. The full link for all the regions is http://wp.me/pTZ8D-1s5

    On September 17, I wrote this blog entry, as researched through Stevenson’s “The New Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia,” (Third Edition) published by Dorling Kindersley 2005 ISBN 0756613248, are the following:

    Rios de Minho

    Vinho Verde DOC ~ The name literally means “Green Wine,” referring to its youthful freshness rather than its color.

    Tras-os-Montes

    Douro DOC ~ Douro is one of the major rivers of the Iberian Peninsula, originating in Spain, and then entering Portugal to the northeast of the country.
    Porto DOC ~ Porto, the city, is located in the estuary of the Douro River in northern Portugal. The largest city in the region, Porto is considered the economic and cultural heart of the entire region.

    Beiras

    Bairrada DOC ~ It is located close to the Atlantic which ocean currents have a moderating affect on the climate.
    Vinho do Dão DOC ~ It is one of the oldest established wine regions in Portugal. Dão wine is produced in a mountainous region with a temperate climate. This region is the origin of the Touriga Nacional vine, the principle component of Port wine.

    http://wp.me/pTZ8D-1s5 for the remainder of all the DOCs

  4. Jo Diaz says:

    Tim,

    You’ve hit the nail on the head. I’ve tasted the identical wines that some of the newer reviews are tasting, and found the written results to be something quite different. I’m doing it from a palate that’s been around the block a few times, and not judging it against anything else. That’s the REAL key. One cannot compare. One can only discover, then the wines are fabulous.

  5. Hi folks. I’m a small Douro producer and i want to thank you for this small lesson about Portuguese wines.
    I hope some of you may be interested in being our importer into the US.

    Peter, sorry to tell but vinho verde is the kind of the wine and it’s also a wine region. Most of Vinho verde comes from Minho that’s true but not all.

    Again thanks!

  6. Jo Diaz says:

    Thanks, Hugo, for your response. I, too, in my comments (above yours) gave Peter a quick list of regions, with DOC Vinho Verde.

  7. Zulueta says:

    Interesting. This new learning for me the Portuguese wines and terms used. Great post and hoping to see and read more.

  8. Tia Maria says:

    Great Blog. Love your stats on Portuguese wine I’ll be back!

  9. Jo Diaz says:

    Thanks, Tia Maria!

  10. I used to be more than happy to search out this web-site. I needed to thank you for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely am enjoying each little bit of it and I’ve bookmarked you to take a look at new stuff on your weblog post.

  11. Daniel says:

    Cooperative Cellar of Dois Portos – Lisbon – Portugal

    HISTORY

    This Cooperative situated right in the centre of the Torres Vedras demarcated region, was founded on 24 February 1960 and started up its activities in 1964, the year in which the initial project was concluded, when there were only 188 members. Nowadays, the Cooperative has around 1,000 members, and includes a social area that covers 80%, of the parishes of Dois Portos, Runa, S. Domingos de Carmões and part of the parish of S. Pedro in the municipality of Torres Vedras; part of the parish of Enxara do Bispo in the municipality of Mafra and part of the parishes in the municipality of Sobral de Monte Agraço. It produces around 15,000 casks of wine annually, of which around 70% is made from black grapes and 30% is made from white grapes. The predominant black grapes are: Castelão (Periquita), Alicante Bouschet, Aragonez and Syrah. In the case of the white grapes: Fernão Pires, Vital, Alicante and Seara Nova.

    In terms of technology, this Winery has kept up-to-date with the most modern winemaking techniques and has consequently improved the quality of its wines. Ever since the 1986 harvest, the Winery has adopted a bonus payment system for the nobler wines from the region, as long as they have certain characteristics. After the Torres Vedras demarcated region was created, the manufacture of D.O.C. and Regional wines began, using the traditional wines that were already being used in our reserves.

    http://www.acdoisportos.com/en/index.html

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