New York, New York…a wake up call!

To New York, for a tasting of pre-phylloxera Madeiras (see Madeira tasting notes) and a visit to our NYC / East Coast distributors to deliver some samples. 2013 was to have been ‘The Year of Portugal’ I am told but it didn’t happen. I spend a day walking around the city visiting independent wine stores to look at their range. Outside Port and Madeira, Portugal barely registers. Even Greece seems to have had more success. Most wine merchants have but a handful of Portuguse wines, invariably hidden on a shelf at the back of the shop or lumped together with Spain. The wines almost all cost less than twenty dollars a bottle. I learn that Portugal’s generic marketing in the US is almost non-existent and that the events that take place are attended by the wrong people, not the movers and shakers that sell wine. Much the same applies to the UK where it was recently revealed that sales of Portuguese wine fell by over 20% last year. As one bottle shop owner in NYC said to me politely that Portugal is a ‘hand sell’. I’ll agree with that – selling Portuguese wines in developed markets overseas is labour intensive!