So far, it’s not a party without a few bottles of the signature Mateus rosé on the table – until Portuguese wines fall out of fashion.
But now the country’s exports are again in vogue with British drinkers. Some dealers reported a fivefold increase in sales in recent years.
Berkmann Wine Cellars said it sells 48,000 bottles a year, up from 9,000 five years ago, and Alex Hunt, the company’s purchasing manager, described Portuguese wine production as “in full swing”.
Sales at Marks & Spencer are also up 30% over the past 12 months, with Waitrose up 27% and Sainsbury up 23%.
“Customers may be worried about trying unfamiliar wines, but when they saw one on TV with a ringing permit, the wall was broken,” said a spokesman.
Lucknam Park, a luxury hotel near Bath, said it was now offering Portuguese wine for the first time in 20 years because “guests just found it”.
Sofia Bergqvist, owner of the Quinta de la Rosa winery in the Douro region, said: “In the past, Portuguese wine was considered cheap, cheerful and lacked consistency. It’s hard to erase this reputation, but it’s now considered a quality product at a very good price. ‘
One theory about the recent spike in sales is that people who missed holidays in Portugal due to travel restrictions decided to at least give the country a try.
“Over the years, more and more British people have visited Portugal and discovered our wine,” said Ms. Bergqvist.
“I think a lot of people ended up buying a bottle to feel the sun again. I also think that a lot of them felt sorry for us and wanted to support Portugal because they couldn’t come.”