Question: I recently read an article on how the average age of port drinkers is between 50 to 55 and how this fortified drink is struggling to gain a foothold with younger wine drinkers. Do you think port can reinvent itself or is it doomed to be part of ash heap of wine drinking history?
Answer: Yes you must be referring to that interesting life style article in The Guardian. I like the innovative new ideas expressed there. Port has fallen behind some of the other wine regions in attracting younger consumers and could be revitalized. The Cathiards in Bordeaux are showing Sauternes (with similar issues to Port) in a modern style to be used as an aperitif with Perrier, fresh lime & ice called SO Sauternes. Do you recall one of the early new successful marketing ideas by Pommery with their “POP” of mini “split” Champagne bottles to drink with a straw – even on the dance floor! Chateau Margaux since 2009 now have 4 wines featuring the name “Margaux” all at different price points – Chateau Margaux, Pavillon Rouge, Margaux de Chateau Margaux , and AOC Margaux generic – to encourage the younger wine drinkers to try their brand and eventually move up the purchasing ladder to the Grand Vin. Why even in Sicily they may add cold sparkling mineral water to their traditional big bold reds. Vintage Port will always have a very special place among collectors. However there are lots of other ones out there including ruby, tawny, and white Port that could use a reinvention boost.
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