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Prowein: Sogevinus steps lightly into Douro table wine market

Published:  20 March, 2019

Grupo Sogevinus, best known for its collection of Portuguese-style Port houses and range of old colheitas, officially launched its growing range of Douro table wine at Prowein.

Marking a different approach to many of its competitors in this growing category, the Sogevinus wines are crafted to be lighter, fresher and more immediately accessible than is typical from the region, with the aim of widening the appeal of Douro table wines.

“For the next five years a large focus for us will be on Douro table wines, it’s one of our key goals for the future to develop non-fortified,” said Sogevinus international business manager Joao Tamagnini Belo, over a tasting of the 2018 wines currently available.

The growing range has wines branded under specific Port house names, such as Cálem (pictured), Burmester and Kopke, plus other, standalone labels, more loosely allied to the houses in the Sogevinus Port portfolio, with single variety wines such as Touriga Nacional sitting alongside more traditional blends of Douro grapes.

Fuller but still fresh and fruit-led reserve styles are also being produced.

“We have changed the style to be more approachable, to appeal to different drinkers and even help bring non-drinkers [into the category],” added Belo.

Highlighting how, in “the old days”, surplus Douro grapes would have gone to be distilled or pressed into cheap and not always very cheerful wine, Belo said that now, “with all the viticulture and technology, you can make very good wine”, adding that Sogevinus uses the same grapes from the same vineyards that are used for its Port wines.

Sogevinus’s entry into the Douro table wine category will boost collective production by some 1.5 million bottles annually, with these new wines complementing a production across the Sogevinus Port ranges of around 10 million bottles.

Belo is confident that the unfortified wines will punch above their weight in terms of recognition versus volume produced, with the 230,000 visitors a year to the Cálem lodge in Vila Nova de Gaia providing a ready-made pool of potential converts to the style.