Exchanging glances

Theveney says: “We encourage people to drink their tawny port chilled, with a lot of ice and a slice of orange, as a refreshing drink. We know this use wouldn’t have been possible in Portugal, for instance, where consumers are more attached to traditions.”

Theveney claims the campaign performed well and has kept the French market growing (4.5% sales YTD – Source: IRI). “We think it’s a priority to show new aspects and new uses of the product like we did with our pink reference a few years ago.

“We do not fear to recommend to use our white and pink products fresh or mixed in cocktails so people can become familiar with the taste of port in a more common and modern way,” says Theveney.

He adds Porto Cruz wants to demonstrate that port can be as complex as wine, with broader uses. “Yet we are not excluding connoisseurs and we keep developing our premium range too, releasing unique and exceptional products such as vintages or Colheitas.”

On the other hand, Sogrape is ploughing a more traditional furrow, investing heavily in its aged tawnies.

In an effort to be ‘disruptive’ to the category, it commissioned major drinks packaging design specialist Stranger & Stranger to come up with a new look for its Sandeman Aged Tawnies range.

So out went the traditional cues for port. Clear glass was introduced instead of black to show off the maturation and colour change from the 10-year-old up to the 30 and 40-year-olds. There are embossed bottles, a roundle and beautiful labels to tell the story and convey the quality.

The one thing that remains is ‘The Don’. You can’t have Sandeman without the famous cloaked figure. It just wouldn’t taste the same.


Sogrape UK marketing manager Rupert Lovie tells Drinks International: “We see the aged tawnies category as having lots of potential. It is a revelation for people to try them if they have only been used to port with cheese at Christmas.”

According to Lovie, aged tawnies are tracking at 29.8% up in the UK on a MAT total from January to August. The sectors getting squeezed are the likes of reserve rubys and LBVs in the middle.

Inevitably, the cocktail boom is of interest to Lovie. He believes the rich, fruity characters make a fine base for cocktails. One of the company’s priorities is to break into the bartending world and make it aware of the quality and possible versatility of port for long drinks.


Bridge says: “The Fladgate Partnership continues to invest in its port business and has recently moved all its offices on to a single site. We have refurbished the Taylor’s visitors’ centre and we have further plans for investment in tourism-related activity.

“In 2016 we have refurbished and relaunched the Vintage House Hotel in Pinhao and bought the Hotel Infante Sagres in Porto. The Infante Sagres will undergo a refit over the next two years, which includes launching in April 2018 an innovative food and beverage offer with Vogue magazine. The intention is that once again the Infante Sagres will be the most glamorous place to eat, drink and be seen in Porto.