There is an abundance of newsworthy topics this month that will be reported in this month's Newsflash! Typically the “news” around here has to do with what is going on with the website and although there certainly is some promoting here, this month there is some important information about tastings, rare auctions, further consolidation within the Port trade, etc.
If you are in the Port trade and would like to have your news forwarded to thousands of Port and Douro wine lovers (Madeira too obviously), all you need to do is send me an email.
WINES & PORTS of PORTUGAL hosts tastings in four US cities
Although Port and Douro wines will be served, please note that there will also be wines from the rest of Portugal’s Wine Regions (e.g. Setubal, Alentejo, Estremadura, Bairrada, Ribatejo, Dão, Vinho Verde and Minho.
Wines and Ports of Portugal to Hold 4 Tastings in US
More than 100 Wines and Ports Will Be Offered
This is an event for the wine novice and the connoisseur alike. Discover the many varieties of Portuguese reds and whites made of grapes indigenous to the Iberian Peninsula, including Alvarinho and Tinta Roriz plus many more. Explore the differences among Ports from Vintage to Tawny to LBV to Colheitas. 100% of the proceeds from the tickets will go to charity.
Monday, November 12, 2007 – LOS ANGELES
Ritz Carlton Hotel, 4375 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey, CA
Tickets are $25 each and can be purchased from www.spcaLA.com, by phone at 1 (888) SPCA-LA1 x232 or at the door of the event
All proceeds go to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA)
Valet parking available
Celebrating 130 years, spcaLA is an independent, nonprofit animal welfare organization serving Southern California. There is no national SPCA, parent organization, or umbrella group that provides financial support to spcaLA. Donations run programs and services including Cruelty Investigation, Disaster Animal Response Team, Humane Education, and a variety of shelter services.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007 - PORTLAND
The Embassy Suites Hotel – Downtown Portland, 319 SW Pine Street, Portland, OR
Tickets are $25 each and can be purchased from www.dovelewis.org, by phone at 503-535-3382 or at the door of the event
All proceeds benefit the Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital
Valet parking available. MAX stop 1st and Oak.
DoveLewis is Portland's 24-Hour Emergency and ICU Animal Hospital, offering advanced veterinary care in a state-of-the-art facility in Northwest Portland and in Southeast Portland's Plaza 205. DoveLewis also shares several 100% donor-funded programs with the community including one of America's largest volunteer-based animal blood banks, an award-winning animal assisted therapy program, a nationally recognized pet loss support program offering five free group therapy sessions each month, 24-hour stabilizing care for lost pets, stray and wild animals and financial assistance for low income families and abused pets.
Thursday, November 15, 2007 - SEATTLE
Sheraton Seattle Hotel & Towers, 1400 Sixth Avenue, Seattle, WA
Tickets are $30 each
Tickets can be purchased by contacting Charla Henderson at 425-373-5388, via email at email@example.com or at the door.
All proceeds benefit the Seattle Humane Society.
Parking is available at City Centre Parking located on 6th Avenue between Pike and Union Streets.
Founded in 1897, the Seattle Humane Society is King County's largest private animal shelter and the community's leading resource for animal lovers and pet guardians. Dedicated to bringing people and pets together, the Seattle Humane Society provides a broad range of services, including adoptions, spay/neuters, humane education, and a Visiting Pets Program, which brings the love of animals to seniors who are not able to have pets of their own.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007 - BOSTON
The Harvard Club of Boston, 374 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA
Tickets are $25 each and can be purchased from www.mspca.org/wines,, by phone at 617-541-5120 or at the door of the event
All proceeds go to the Massachusetts Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) – Angell. The MSPCA-Angell provides direct hands-on care for more than 250,000 animals annually.
Valet parking available
The MSPCA-Angell is a national and international leader in animal protection and veterinary medicine. Founded in 1868, it is the second-oldest humane society in the United States. Services include animal protection and adoption, advocacy, humane education, law enforcement and the highest-quality veterinary care available anywhere in the world. The MSPCA-Angell provides direct hands-on care for more than 250,000 animals each year through its Animal Care and Adoption Centers and world-class Angell Animal Medical Centers. For more information, visit www.mspca.org.
For more information about the Wines and Ports of Portugal Event, please call 1-877- 2-PORTUGAL.
Mario Ferreira Is Slated For New Role As International Marketing Director For An E-Commerce Wine Import Group
I am proud to announce that my good friend and travel business partner, Mario Ferreira has been hired by EdM to coordinate their wine marketing strategies between Portugal and the USA. No one is more qualified for this new position than Mario. I’ve been fortunate to know Mario since his early days with the Port Wine Institute (known today as the IVDP which now includes Douro wines, of course). He deserves a great opportunity like this and I am positive he will be successful in his new role in promoting quality wine products from Portugal. He understands the USA wine markets as well as the distribution system here and will be essential in introducing and educating Americans to the fantastic vinous products from his native land.
For those that might be wondering; we will continue our humble travel business providing exclusive excursions like our annual Fortification and Harvest Tours. That aside, I am proud of my friend for landing such a great position and to the folks at EdM, you have wisely put a winner on your team!
New Wine Importer Esprit du Monde Debuts With E-Commerce Strategy
NAPA, Calif., -- Esprit du Monde LLC (EdM), a new wine import/export firm, announces its launch and unique direct to consumer e-commerce approach. EdM imports and exports select wines, spirits and gourmet items for distribution throughout the United States, Europe and Eastern Asia. In addition to a three tiered distribution network active in over 30 states, EdM engages in Direct to Trade (DTT) and Direct to Consumer (DTC) sales through multiple channels including e-commerce and outside sales representatives.
"EdM will offer wineries access to all three sales channels in the US market and will provide a unique turnkey DTC solution for select international producers," said TNC Wine Partners founder Tim Campbell, co-Managing Director of EdM. EdM's goal is to provide end-to-end winery industry solutions to international wineries for gaining access to the expanding US market. "In conjunction with our strategic partners, EdM will provide producers with the optimal method of leveraging the tasting room experience and converting it into immediate sales," said co-Managing Director David Kupsky. EdM's strategic relationships will also allow it to offer a rare wine procurement program, assist international wineries in trade event coordination and wine travel and leisure opportunities.
Esprit du Monde, LLC was formed by the principals of Napa winery service company TNC Wine Partners, LTD (http://www.tncwines.com) (TNC) and Portuguese Wine Imports (http://www.portuguesewineimports.com) (PWI) of Atlanta, Georgia, an import broker. The interests of both companies were combined to form EdM. TNC provided sales and a wide array of Three Tier (3T) distribution services to domestic small production, artisanal wineries. EdM will continue to service domestic wineries.
EdM has members in California, New York, Georgia, Canada and Portugal. Victor Marques of Atlanta is National Sales Manager. Rolf Roth of Vancouver is Operations Director. Portugal based Mario Ferreira is International Marketing Director. Ferreira, the former "ambassador" to the United States of the prestigious Instituto do Vinho do Porto in Portugal, is uniquely positioned to source profile wines, conduct wine training and education seminars to aid product introduction into the United States markets.
The Fladgate Partnership Purchase Of Quinta Da Eira Velha
The Fladgate Partnership has acquired Quinta da Eira Velha for 3.25 million euros. That seems like a bargain when considering that they will receive about approximately 125 acres (50 hectares) of A rated vineyard land, which will bring their total holdings at their 11 Quintas to 2000 acres (800 ha). An impressive if not fortuitous move by TFP and further evidence that there is no end in site to the “consolidation movement” within the Port trade.
The Fladgate Partnership group had also purchased 17% of the Messias Port firm one year ago and is now negotiating to buy the remainder of the company. It is said that Taylor is interested in the Port Wine side of the Messias Company. They have been actively pursuing prime Quinta properties in the Douro for about the last decade and back in 2001, added both Croft -- for their diamond in the rough, Quinta da Roêda and Delaforce for its old stocks of wood aged Tawnies. While land is still somewhat reasonably priced in the Douro, when high quality parcels become available, especially with A and B grade vineyards, (which receive larger beneficio rights) shrewd businessmen become aggressive land and Quinta buyers.
There are 5 major Port companies, (mostly family owned) that control the vast majority of the Port industry and have significant power both in export markets and even within the IVDP. Additionally, there are between 37,000 and 41,000 growers in the Douro, depending on whose statistics you listen to. Less than 20% of those growers own properties with land holdings that exceed 25 acres (10 ha). That is a remarkably small number, especially when you consider the Symington’s now own 26 Quinta properties and along with Real Companhia Velha, are the largest land owners in the Douro.
The Fladgate Partnership made the Eira Velha purchase from the Newman family which has always maintained strong ties in Newfoundland, Canada. The Newman family has deep roots in the Port trade dating back to 1679 (just 9 years after Warre, which was the first British firm to enter the Port trade) and Quinta da Eira Velha can trace its roots back to 1513. I am not sure exactly when the Newman family acquired Eira Velha but the connection goes back about 200 years. At one time they also were the owners of Hunt, Roope & Company which was eventually sold off to Ferreira in 1956, but the Newman’s retained the rights and ownership of Quinta da Eira Velha.
The Newman’s connection to the North Atlantic coastal town of Newfoundland was based on their active participation and successful business in trading cod for Port. They plan to continue to hold the trademark of “Newman’s Celebrated Port” albeit their Port will now be vinified and bottled by The Fladgate Partnership, which makes plenty of sense.
I saw a report which mentioned that Peter Newman felt that the Symington’s purchase of Cockburn’s early in the summer of 2006 (along with the massive property at Quinta dos Canais) was the final straw that initiated their desire to make an exit from the Port trade. Whether true or not, that report stated that Newman believed that Ports made by the Symington’s would wind up being “commercialized.” The connection here is that since Cockburn’s had been making Single Quinta Vintage Ports (SQVP) from Eira Velha grapes going back almost 30 years to 1978, (Martinez a few years later, if I am not mistaken) then possibly the concern was how the Symington’s would make SQVPs from Eira Velha now that they owned Cockburn’s. This would make sense, except that from where I sit … every Port company the Symington’s have purchased (same can be said for The Fladgate Partnership) has actually improved! Anyway, who knows the real reason?
Eira Velha’s 125 acres should boost TFP’s annual output by another 100 pipes or 6,000 cases of Port. The Fladgate Partnership intends to sell the Port wine under the Quinta’s name since they’ve been marketing SQVPs as mentioned, for nearly 30 years now. Why change and have to create a brand in the marketplace?
David Guimaraens, the very talented young head of winemaking for the entire TFP group provided some interesting insight mentioning that their property Quinta da Casa Nova is directly adjacent to Quinta da Eira Velha. Not surprisingly, David commented that he was “happy” that no Douro wines would be made at their new property. Adrian Bridge, the Managing Director of The Fladgate Partnership, said; " … it's rare to find an estate of this quality and size on the market. So, when we were presented with the sale of Quinta da Eira Velha, we leapt at the opportunity." Mr. Bridge went on to say that "we are very pleased to add this historic property to the portfolio of top Quintas of the Douro.”
The Douro Boys, an auction and their Cuvée 2005 magnum madness!
Five years ago, five wild and crazy guys who just happen to own Port and Douro wine properties in the Valley, banded together and started to market their reds, whites and Port in a collaborative effort. No petty jealousies, no competitiveness, just good friends helping each other to spread the word about the great quality of wines coming out of the Douro Valley in Portugal.
In a celebration of their 5th anniversary, the five Douro boys decided it would be fun to put together the best wines from each of their Quintas and make a very special Cuvée, in this case from the fabulous 2005 vintage. Not only would this winemaking group effort produce a wine worth cellaring, but they produced exactly 500 very special MAGNUM bottles. The bad news is that these bottles are not for sale, per se. The very good news is that they will be auctioned off, 30 November 2007 at a live event held in the Douro. There are all kinds of mixed lots and outings with the Douro Boys “live and in person” that can be bid on. So bid on one bottle or 60 at a time, however, once these 500 Magnums are gone (and they WILL go quickly) the chase is over!
THE DOURO BOYS:
Cristiano van Zeller from Quinta do Vale Dona Maria
Francisco Olazabal from Quinta do Vale Meao
Guilherme and Joao Alvares Ribeiro from Quinta do Vallado
Jorge Roquette from Quinta do Crasto
Dirk van der Niepoort from Niepoort
For more information on the Douro Boys, their Cuvée 2005 or the auction lots, please check the Douro Boys website which provides all the necessary details on how to participate from anywhere in the world.
CellarTracker and FTLOP Collaboration
What? Not again! Well, this is important.
After what has seemed like an eternity … FINALLY, we have figured out all of the bugs and got out all the kinks. There is nothing left for us to do but go LIVE!
Eric LeVine will be sending out an email to all 40,000 of his users regarding our collaboration and the fact that my Port, Madeira and Douro tasting notes are now accessible through CellarTracker, which will be very convenient for the mutual users of both sites.
Special thanks to David Spriggs, Stewart and of course Eric. This has been a long time in coming but we have finally arrived and I am excited. Who knows, it might even bring some new folks to post on our Forum?!?!
Tour of Duty
Please forgive me for a few moments of self indulgence, but if I don’t do anything to promote myself who will? Through January of 2008, I am doing an “unofficial” road show, visiting with the customers of retail wine shops and or wine schools to hold special Port tasting seminars. The lineup in order is Edmonton, Canada then off to Phoenix, Arizona then off to Portugal for a short visit … not to mention Colorado at Thanksgiving … and that is just in November. Fortunately, it is mostly just weekends, so my family will put up with this.
In December the madness continues with NYC and very likely New Jersey too and the down to Atlanta to host a seminar and tasting at a great wine school. So, my five minutes is not up yet and I am going to let you know where I will be so that if you are anywhere in the vicinity nd want to take part or just want to stop by and say hello, that would be great!
November 9th @ 7 p.m – Edmonton, Alberta, Port Tasting at deVine Wines - Please have a look if you are interested in the Ports we’ll be tasting. This is an annual event that I truly enjoy. Each year the theme and producer changes. Besides, I just like going up there because it is nice and cold!
Next on the Tour:
Please mark your calendars for Saturday, November 17, 2007 for a Port Luncheon and Port Tasting Seminar in the Views Lounge of the Elements Restaurant at The Sanctuary Resort, 5700 E McDonald Drive Paradise Valley, AZ. This tasting seminar and luncheon will be for the Phoenix chapters of Tastevin and the Commanderie de Bordeaux. The White Port reception for the Port Luncheon will begin at 11:00am with lunch to be served at 11:45am. Chef Beau MacMillan will be preparing a three course luncheon pared with a White Port, a Tawny Port and a Vintage Port in keeping with the Port Tasting Seminar described below.
The Port Tasting Seminar will begin after lunch and continue for 2 plus hours with Roy Hersh, founder of “For the Love of Port” conducting a vertical tasting of Fonseca vs. Taylor Fladgate for the following vintages: 1994, 1992, 1977, 1970, 1963, 1955. (all rated 95 or over).The Ports were acquired for us by Clyde Beffa, Jr. of K&L Wine Merchants.
The Tasting Seminar is limited to the first 40 people who sign up (email us) since some of these vintages are in limited supply. Some people may want to just attend the luncheon, which is going to be fabulous. That is definitely permitted.
Acker, Merrall & Condit Present
Taylor Fladgate Vs. Fonseca Vintage Port (Blind) Tasting
Hosted By Roy Hersh
Thursday December 6th
To find the origins of Taylor Fladgate, one must go back over three centuries, to the 1670s, when Job Bearsley, an English merchant, established what is today that respected firm at Viana, in the Minho. Bearsley's initial activities were in the wool trade, and the "4XX" logo, originally his woolmark, was branded on bales of wool, and later, casks of port wine, for shipment. The firm was officially founded in 1692; Bearsley thereafter moved his offices to Oporto; this date places Taylor Fladgate as one of Oporto's oldest Port houses. The prehistory of the firm of Fonseca Guimaraens lies in the late 1700s, in a company known as Fonseca & Monteiro, located in Oporto. The Fonseca family, of Brazilian origin, conducted its trade in wine, foodstuffs, olive oil and cloth primarily with Brazil in exchange for sugar cane, hemp and snuff from the colonies.
Roy Hersh has been a Port lover for twenty-five years and is renowned as one of the leading Port wine authorities and journalists in the United States. He hosts fortheloveofport.com the most popular interactive Port & Madeira website in the world and pens a free monthly newsletter that reaches over 60 countries. In June 2003, Roy was one of just two Americans selected by the Port and Douro Wine Institute (IVDP) to be "enthroned" into their "Confraria" (Port wine brotherhood). Roy is hands down the one and only “Port Authority.” We will sample in a blind taste off: Taylor and Fonseca 1994; 1992; 1985; 1983; 1977; 1970 and 1963.
Fourteen ports in all and of course we won't forget the Stilton!
TASTINGS BEGIN AT 7:00 pm
THE WARWICK HOTEL
65 West 54 Street • New York, NY 10019
(unless otherwise noted).
Please call David Hamburger at 212.875.0222 Monday – Friday to confirm events. You can also register online at The Wine Workshop
Thank you for your patience!
Three is enough for now. Since nobody will be joining me for my tour of Portugal, in the next newsletter I will mention the retailer in NJ and the wine seminar and tasting down in Atlanta.
Mario & I donated a trip to to the Douro at the request of Norm Roby (former WS journalist who is now with Decanter Magazine) as it was to benefit the Mendocino Coast District Hospital. He explained the “cause” to me and it sounded very worthwhile.
The trip we donated was for May’s “2008 Fortification Tour” exploring in style both Port and Madeira regions. This trip was launch in 2007 and everyone had an amazing time and we pulled out all the stops!
Anyway, our trip was listed in the Winesong travel operator auction catalogue. The bidding began and in the midst, a pair of first class tickets r/t to Portugal was tossed into the package and so was an add on 3 days in Spain. Voila! Immediately there was a frenzy and before the dust settled, our trip was the highest grossing auction lot … not just of this year … but in the history of WineSong’s auction efforts.
I am glad it is for a very worthy cause and helping the ill, because this trip for 2 sold for …. $62,000! Yep, that is what I said too. ; )
FTLOP Adds A New Member To Our Team
Stewart and I have an ambitious plan for the next fourteen months to add some fun new bells and whistles which we are not going to even mention until they are ready to go. The good news is that you are going to see two of them prior to the end of this year. There is always a lot of work to do behind the scenes and the Forum and Newsletter are just two pieces of that puzzle.
In order to stay focused and meet deadlines, we have decided to add an individual to our Advisory Team which also includes Mario Ferreira and my wife. The fifth individual has a penchant for Port, has been to the “Motherland” twice … and has the time to devote to assisting us with projects on occasion but most importantly, will have a prominent role as a Moderator of the FTLOP Forum.
Actually, he is not stranger there either. As the leading poster (besides moi) with a whopping 10% of the 23,000+ posts, he really does know his Port. Not only have I seen him develop a very substantial palate in the two years I have known him, but his knowledge has grown exponentially.
Please welcome ANDY VELEBIL our newest staff member!