Portuguese wine growing in popularity and sales says Esporão CEO

Portuguese wines are starting to grow as the country shows signs of recovery, according to Esporão CEO João Roquette. 

Esporão grew 8% in value last year, which the CEO said was “above expected.” He explained: “We went through a period of five years with no growth in Portugal and all the growth was international business.

“We are still fighting [in some markets] to show people our identity and show what Portugal is about. The success that we have been having is helping, ” Roquette said. 

The Portuguese brand is present in 50 countries worldwide and produces around 40 million bottles annually. Portugal still represents 30% of its sales. US, Brazil and Angola represents 30% and ten markets, including the UK, make up the remainder.

“It is not about how many markets you sell in but how well you sell and the best business you can be,” Roquette told DI.

“In the next few years I hope we grow faster than we did in the last five years. Portugal is growing again and showing strong signs of recovery.”

One third of Esporão’s production is certified organic. This is something Roquette wants to develop. “We need to make sure we have the right varieties in the right soils. Producing organically is a learning process and we need to give ourselves time to plan and make changes and manage risk.”

Olive Oil makes up 8-9% of the company business. The company says it has a “wine approach” to creating olive oil. Esporão currently has six brands and plans to invest €3m in olive oil facilities. “It’s a tougher business than wines. It is still a commodity product, unfortunately.”

Esporão will launch two organic, two high-end wines from the Douro Valley and an olive oil across all markets this year.

With an eye on expansion, the company’s new hotel is set to open early 2016 and plans are afoot to renovate a 19th century house in the Douro valley that will be ready at the end of the year.