The Vintage Port Academy Launches in Hong Kong

Euan Mackay explaining the unique Douro terroir

Earlier this month Euan Mackay, Graham’s Sales Director, was in Hong Kong to launch the Vintage Port Academy, which aims to promote the appreciation and understanding of Vintage Port.  The launch was marked by the biggest series of  Vintage Port events ever to be held in Asia, designed for press, wine trade professionals and consumers.  The Academy is a joint venture between Symington Family Estates, makers of Graham’s, Dow’s and Warre’s, and the Taylor-Fladgate Partnership, which produces Taylor’s, Croft and Fonseca ports.

Over the course of three days we held six different events including a press tasting and luncheon, a tasting of a range of vintage ports from 1977 to 2003 for our distributor’s VIP customers, two educational seminars aimed at young sommeliers and others just starting in the wine trade, a trade tasting and a consumer event on port and food pairing.  All events were fully subscribed.

Wines from all six houses were featured in vertical tasting flights of 2000, 2003 and 2007 Vintages at the press tasting event on 10 November at the Conrad Hotel in Hong Kong.  This was a unique opportunity to compare and contrast the house styles of the six producers, as well as to appreciate the unique character of each of these landmark vintage years.  Afterwards, the group enjoyed a lunch with featured two aged vintages:  Taylor’s 1963 and the Graham’s 1966 which was showing magnificently.

Really bringing home the message: a map and some schist

The Port Seminars were held at the Club Lusitano, one focussed solely on Vintage Ports and the other presenting the full range of Port styles.  Certificates were awarded for completion, and a test was administered at the conclusion of the general Port seminar.  The winner received a presentation case of one bottle of 2000 Vintage Port from each Graham’s, Warre’s Dow’s, Taylor’s, Fonseca and Croft.

Euan sharing this enthusiasm and knowledge at the food pairing event: Graham's Vintage 1994 and chocolate patisserie

Finally, there was a food pairing event at the restaurant La Loggia in central Hong Kong, which showed wines from both houses, including Taylor’s 20 Year Old Tawny with foie gras, a young Graham’s 1994 Vintage with dark chocolate,  a mature Taylor’s 1985 Vintage with blue cheese and Graham’s 40 Year Old Tawny with smoked meat. Over 100 people turned up over the two hours, and thoroughly enjoyed the ports and taste sensations.

Our thanks to the organisers, Independent Wine Centre (IWC), who did a fantastic job setting up the events and keeping them all running smoothly throughout the three days.  We look forward to working with them again in 2011.    Watch their website for news of events in the new year:  http://www.iwinecentre.com/iwine-en/index.php

The Port Academy was also featured in the Winebuzz blog, Hong Kong’s daily English-language wine blog covering the newest wines, stores, wine bars, tastings and more.  Take a look, there are some great photos:   http://www.winebuzz.hk/the-vintage-port-academy-promotes-port-wines-in-hong-kong

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