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?The Big Fortified Tasting to be held at the end of April

Published:  04 April, 2014

The Big Fortified Tasting (the b.f.t.), the single largest wine fair in the world which is solely dedicated to fortified wines, will be held on April 24, 2014, at the Church House Conference Centre, Westminster. spoke to Danny Cameron, managing director of the BFT, to see what makes the annual tasting critical to those in the wine trade and why this year's event should not be missed.

"The purpose of the tasting is to allow for fortified wines to be the focus of an event rather than an add-on, he says. "We wanted to create a show where fortified wines were the bride, rather than the bridesmaid, as we were seeing fortifieds getting sidelined at so many events, where either they are left right until the end of the day when attendees have fatigued palates or are just ignored or forgotten about," says Cameron.

Ports and sherries have seen a resurgence in the UK and are often popular among wine enthusiasts, but in the past have faced some challenges with the general public.

Cameron admits the challenge is often down to how fortified wines are purchased by buyers. "There was a disconnection in the supply chain. We observed a few years ago that many fortifieds were being bought as a commodity, based on only the price, the deal and the brand, rather than the excitement generated by the trade from regular tasting and appraisal. The BFT exists to directly address this."

A big benefit for suppliers and buyers is to have a tasting that provides the opportunity to see the trends in the fortified category.  "Without a doubt, the exhibitors tell us that they really enjoy being at the BFT, as it allows them a unique opportunity to look at what is going on elsewhere in the fortified world, not only from a winemaking perspective, but also looking at packaging and innovation," said Cameron.

With four tutored tasting held throughout the day, the tasting will undoubtedly provide an opportunity to explore new Ports and sherries for both the on and off-trade.

Four tutored tastings

Celebrating Malmsey masterclass: Bishop Partridge Hall, 11am

Colheitas: "Vintage" Ports You've Never Tasted masterclass: Hoare Memorial Hall, 12 noon

Flor Ageing v Traditional Maturation masterclass: Bishop Partridge Hall, 1pm

Maturation of Niepoort Late Bottled Vintage masterclass:

Hoare Memorial Hall, 2pm.

The facts:

What: b.f.t. Tasting

When: April 24, 2014 10am-6pm

Where:Church House Conference Centre, Westminster