I humbly bring this suggestion to you, the Port leaders and maestros, from discussions that have appeared on the FORUM of the FTLOP website. Collectively, we would very much like to see you adopt the practice of putting the date of bottling on the label of every single bottle that leaves your cellars. As Port lovers and collectors, we feel that it is in our mutual best interest (shipper and consumer) to have the bottles reach the marketplace clearly identified.
Why? There is much to be gained by including the date of bottling on the back or even front label of every bottle:
- Further enlightenment of your customers is always a “win-win” wine situation.
- Quite often, there are multiple releases of wines that sit in the Gaia or Douro cellars. This is true with Tawny Port “with an indication of age” which already possesses the date of bottling required on the label. It would be just as beneficial for Vintage Ports, Unfiltered LBVs and Colheitas that are released at various stages of their life cycles.
- Consumers would benefit from the knowledge gained from a bottle’s label that identified the bottling date, as having been recently released ex-cellars. Some of us are even willing to pay a premium to obtain these pristine, sought after bottles.
- It would help folks purchasing Port bottles from unknown sources, even from reputable auction houses. After all, my motto when it comes to Port buying is: “Price is secondary, provenance is everything!”
- Single Quinta Vintage Ports which are from “lesser vintages” and held back for later release (for various reasons) would be more valuable to those that understand the difference. We will continue to spread the gospel to anyone that will listen and are willing to teach any consumers that want to learn why this is important.
- Some Port lovers have a “fear” about old Vintage Ports that “look too new to be true” and this would help allay those fears and put more confidence into the marketplace which can only be a plus for all concerned.
- On rare occasions, ancient bottles of Vintage Ports and Colheitas are released by shippers into the market and it is always helpful to know when they left the cellar and IF the VP was Oporto bottled. Of course this might require further disclosure on the labels, but it seems like a good idea, if feasible. Considering these are released in small quantities and are usually very expensive, it would be most appreciated to have this type of information.
I welcome your feedback and would be happy to include your opinions here. You can let me know by email whether you prefer to be quoted, or would rather provide your comment “off the record” (without attribution) as either way is fine. Regardless, thank you for listening to your consumers, who really do care! Feel free to comment below, or join discussion on the FTLOP Forum, or contact me privately at roy AT fortheloveofport DOT com.