Wine Promotion the Portuguese Way

During our recent holiday in Portugal, we visited the Palácio da Bolsa, the splendid Stock Exchange Palace, in the city of Porto (Oporto). It is the most visited attraction in this historic city of Northern Portugal (more than 200.000 visitors per year). It was used as the first stock exchange in Portugal, among others the results of intensive international trade especially in port and other wines.

Today, it is mainly a museum. The stock exchange has long moved to the capital city of Lisbon. The palace used to house the headquarters of the merchants guild. A modern “guild”, however, is still displaying its products there: Vini Portugal, the Portuguese Wine Trade Association, a mulit-stakeholder trade association to promote and support Portuguese wines at home and abroad (www.viniportugal.pt) maintains a small showroom in the basement.

Some of the wines on display

Having a wine tasting and display room in the Palácio da Bolsa is a great asset and a clever public relations strategy given that so many people from all over the world visit the historic building. The guided tour includes an invitation to the free wine tasting in the Vini Portugal showroom. Wine enthusiasts such as us, had no choice but to pay it a visit and check out the place.

Margit in the showroom

Two wines were open for tasting both from the Douro wine region, a ‘2006 Costa do Pombal’, a white blend (‘cuveé’ sounds much better than ‘blend’ which has a slightly negative connotation; even better is the word ‘composition’ which somehow stresses the artistic qualities of the wine maker) of Rabigato, Gouveio, Vions(h)inho and Arinto (that is what the lady wrote down for me) and a ‘2003 Borges Reserva’ (14.5 % vol./alc.) blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, and Touriga Franca. I liked both wines, though they remained a mystery to me. I need to taste more Portuguese wines to develop my palate. Portugal has more than 200 autochthone vine varieties, maybe the largest in the world. Many of them have not been explored outside Portugal and they might be a tremendous potential for future development.

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