Port producers increase focus on still wines

Port producers are increasingly adding still wines to their repertoires to help boost profits outside of the festive season while also growing brand awareness for their ports.

Sogevinus, which has port brands Kopke, Calem and Burmester, is launching a number of still wines from the Douro Valley in the UK, while Symington Family has announced it is introducing its first wines from outside of the Douro region.

Sogevinus’s wines will be positioned under its Kopke brand and the initial launch will include a white wine made from Malvesia grapes and a red made from Touriga Nacional. Reserva wines for both will be introduced later in the year as well as a Reserve Rosé made from Rufete.

The initial classic red and white wines will retail at £12 in the UK, with the Reservas priced around £20.

Joao Belo, Sogevinus' international business manager, told DRN: “We will launch more and more of those project still wines to enhance the premium nature of the wines, whether they are ports or still wines.

“A fair amount of the grapes from the Douro Valley are not fortified and 25 years ago producers made very uninspiring wines from the area with those grapes, but now we can make some very fresh whites and great still red wines.”

Meanwhile the Symington family has launched its first wines from its new project at Quinta da Fonte Souto in the Portalegre sub-region of the Alentejo in southern Portugal. The acquisition of the estate in 2017 marked the first time the wine family had ventured beyond its traditional heartland.

The initial range of five estate wines, produced by head winemaker Charles Symington, has Vinha do Souto as its flagship, which is described as a “beautifully structured and balanced red made with Syrah and Alicante Bouschet”, as well as a pair of red and white wines under the Quinta da Fonte Souto label (using Portuguese and international grape varieties), and a red and a white under the Florao label, made in a more approachable style for younger drinking.

Rupert Symington, chief executive, said: “This stunning property has many appealing characteristics for our family. With its higher altitude, it has a cooler, wetter microclimate than the hot Alentejo plain, and its less fertile soils produce low yields of excellent quality grapes. Both factors make it an ideal site for us, given our long experience in the challenging conditions of the Douro. We believe we can produce some really special and unique wines from these vineyards.”

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