With Port seen as a staple for Christmas menus, we spoke to Carlos Afonso, Assistant Manager at Vallegre Vinhos do Porto, about Port’s versatility and how he believes there’s plenty to attract new drinkers to the category – even those on a budget.
There’s so many drink options available that it’s important to impress and catch the attention of the consumer – and this is even more vital at Christmas. We all know and love Port as a delicious dessert drink or accompanying a mince pie, but there’s so much more to this versatile drink. For instance within a cocktail or long drink such as the classic White Port and Tonic. These are classic drinks in Portugal but are still relatively unknown in the UK – they require an initial hand sell but are always popular when tried, creating an unusual welcome drink or special cocktail.
As well as offering a lower ABV, Port based cocktails are usually made with basic ports and so provide an affordable drink. Port has a distinct flavour profile that sets it apart from other types of wine: it is typically rich, sweet, and full-bodied with notes of ripe fruit, spices, and sometimes a hint of nuttiness. Whether it’s a robust and fruity Ruby Port or a mellow and nutty Tawny Port, these unique flavours can add depth and complexity to cocktails, providing a rich and indulgent taste experience.
As with all sectors, it is increasingly important that Port innovates and evolves and, as such, we continue to expand our range to impress and catch the attention of the consumer. A few years ago, Vallegre took the strategic decision to lower the alcohol content of our basic ports to 19% ABV, which, while still higher than still wine, is considerably lower than spirits and therefore attracts less duty. Our decision was both future proofing our business and, most importantly, looking after the health of drinkers without compromising the taste of our product.
We will be working closely with Lanchester Wines, our UK partner, to ensure we’re able to maintain our traction but our pricing is already competitive so discounts will be difficult. Nevertheless, we continue to develop new products and showcase our top tier wines. Our marketing, both in the UK and Portugal, is to educate the consumer on different way to imbibe Port (always defending drinking in moderation and responsibly). We’re trying to attract younger drinkers by offering appealing, fresh concepts (for example, cocktails and where and when to drink them), for a competitive price. We want them to try our Ports in a different light and ideally make new lifelong Port drinkers.
For more information on Vallegre Ports available in the UK, please visit www.lanchesterwines.co.uk