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Published:  23 July, 2008

Portuguese wine importers turned a PR disaster into a PR coup last week, after pundit Mark Lawro' Lawrenson's comments on BBC magazine programme Football Focus that he had found no Portuguese wines worth drinking during his month-long stay in Portugal during Euro 2004. Lawro's attack followed Portuguese football manager Jose Mourinho's comments that he was looking forward to sharing a bottle of great Portuguese wine (1964 Barca Velha) with Manchester United's manager Sir Alec Ferguson (which followed Ferguson's comment that Mourinho had served him paint stripper' after a Chelsea/ Manchester United game). Such a potential slur mobilised the combined forces of Wines of Portugal and the newly formed Association of Portuguese Wine Importers (APWI), which duly delivered a number of bottles of Portugal's finest to Lawro, in order to set the record straight. The result was that the following week's Football Focus, which can net an estimated six million viewers per show, showed footage of Mark Lawrenson cradling bottles, including Altano Reserva and Niepoort Redoma. APWI chairman Danny Cameron said: The show doesn't have the same demographics it had in my youth, when we all sat down, cloth caps in hand, with the whippet at the foot of the draylon sofa. These days, viewers of programmes like this are just as likely to be making discriminating lifestyle purchases as those who watch the Ten O'Clock News.'