In the 12 months to March 2020, Portuguese wine sales at Berkmann totalled 48,000 bottles – a 433% increase on sales in 2015.
Enjoying success outside of Portuguese restaurants, drops from the country are flying off menus at a number of top London restaurants, including Cornerstone, Gymkhana and Hoppers, since on-trade venues were allowed to reopen in July.
Portuguese wines were among the top sellers in Berkmann’s pop-up online wine shop, Help 4 Hospitality, which helped to raise money for the struggling on-trade during the pandemic, with Prunus Dão red and white and Azahar Vinho Verde proving particularly popular.
“Portugal has begun to find a much stronger foothold in the UK’s consumption patterns in the last five years, creating a new national identity of interesting, eclectic wines that offer excellent value at all price points,” said Hunt.
“Portuguese wines offer an accessible adventure: they’re unfamiliar without being too challenging. In recent years, winemakers have gained in knowledge and confidence, and have been unshackled from the obligation to adhere to a generic international style. Portuguese winemaking is now in its prime,” he added.
Vinho Verde is also proving a hit at M&S: “Vinho Verde is a favourite among our customers,” M&S senior wine buyer Lizzy Unite, db’s Young Achiever of the Year, said.
“Over the summer we saw an impressive 30% uplift in sales with customers making the most of its refreshing spritz during the hotter months, but it remains a popular choice throughout the year due to its lovely bright flavours and naturally lower abv,” she added.
Rather than leading with a flagship grape like Malbec in Argentina or Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand, Portugal boasts a plethora of native grapes and diverse array of wine styles.
What many of the wines do have in common is that they over-deliver on quality for their price point, offering consumers a lot of bang for their buck.