Alexandre Relvas Jr. from promising Herdade de S. Miguel in Alentejo, told me, on our way to Mondial Bruxelles, held this year in Bratislava, that he and his team are travelling big time in order to increase export market share. Alexandre is a young and conscious winemaker/marketeer/salesman/owner’s son. His words show apprehension, since the Portuguese share of wine shelve worldwide is losing to other producing countries such as Spain (7 labels against 70 in countries such as Finland). It is true that major wine consuming countries are buying more bulk and less bottled, according to Rabobank, but the lack of a Portuguese trend and desirable demand from consumers and buyers worldwide is real. This has been going on for more than a decade. And I don’t see a breakthrough while ViniPortugal keeps focusing on useless and budget wine buying countries such as England or Germany. For some time now, and without any positive feedback – a normal conclusion being my natural born stupidity – I have been preaching the first rule for Portuguese Wine Export : NO CULTURE, NO PAY.

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If we try to sell to an Anglophone buyer, most probably he will not even know where Portugal is located. But if his basic level of knowledge is achieved, please go to level 2 with questions like wine regions, main wine estates, main cultivars, expensive Portuguese wines. Result? Do we need to raise to the next level? Who’s to blame? Certainly not the foreign buyer!

NO CULTURE, NO PAY! stands for a new worldwide approach intensely focused on countries that were built on a long term relation with Portuguese culture, trade & lifestyle. Due to my wake-up calls ViniPortugal landed, just a few years ago, in a natural Portuguese speaking market where our traditional wine supremacy was being endangered by South Africa and aggressive Chile: Angola. Portugal has still a good number of lusofriendly countries to conquer and some few belonging to the appealing and trendy rich club BRICS: Brasil (Well done ViniPortugal, I give you that in honesty), India, China & South Africa. What about all the African and Asian coastal countries? The ones that know Vasco da Gama, wear Ronaldo shirt during World Soccer matches and save money for a visit to Portugal? Do you really prefer the Ahmed&Ahearne transparently innefective consultancy to sell under 1 euro to Her Majesty’s Britain narrow or Portugal free shelves? Alexandre Relvas Jr. came recently from Japan and will meet Shoprite’s wine buyer in South Africa next week. He didn’t saw Viniportugal’s devoted crew nowhere near…

Do you know what the photo in this post is showing you? Do you know that you would pay more than 1000 euros for this piece? Look for Bordalo Pinheiro. This blog will be your next level to Portuguese Wines. Check the tasting notes & scores of best Portuguese wines tasted in 2012 or immediately check my online wine book at www.w-anibal.com.

Sobre Aníbal Coutinho

Anibal Coutinho lives in Lisboa and he is a Portuguese independent wine commentator. For the first time ever a well known Portuguese professional is writing in English about Portuguese wines. Using the letter W for his wine philosophy, Anibal shares his passionate view as a wine consumer, winemaker, wine writer, wine voyeur, wine bullshitter, wine buyer, wine educator, wine judge and amateur sommelier. He has a MSc and an ongoing PhD in Sensory Analysis. He will also share his passion about other W liquids. Anibal sings in the Gulbenkian Choir. Last but not least he is a devoted husband and father.
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