Symington Family Estates Reports Solid Increase in 2011 Port Sales

World–Renowned Port Producing Family Confirms Recently Published IVDP Data

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., January 27, 2012 - Symington Family Estates, the Oporto, Portugal based wine company that includes the famous independent Port houses W. & J. Graham’s, Cockburn’s, Dow’s, Warre’s, in addition to Smith Woodhouse, Quinta do Vesuvio, Gould Campbell, Quarles Harris and Martinez, is reporting increased Port sales in the United States for 2011 across the premium category. Sales trends within the family’s portfolio are in line with the especially strong trends reported by the Portuguese governmental organization, IVDP (Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto). IVDP figures on total exports, by market, for 2011, show United States sales up 8% and the premium Port category up 15%; making the United States the fifth largest market in total volume (404,000 cases) and the second largest premium market (232,000 cases) after the United Kingdom (527,000 cases).

The breakdown of the IVDP premium category explains the 15% increase. The aged tawny category was especially buoyant: 10 Year Tawny up 17%, 20 Year Tawny up 20%, 30 Year Tawny up 40%, 40 Year Tawny up 25%. The most prestigious category, Vintage Port, increased 41%, while Reserve Port, the largest premium category by volume in the USA, was up 1.5%.

Rupert Symington, Joint Managing Director of Symington Family Estates notes, “There have been some recent articles claiming that Port is in decline in the United States, yet actual numbers indicate a very different picture. Coming out of the 2008 / 2009 recession Port has done very well in the USA, especially the premium category.” Among the different styles of Port, “premium” encompasses Reserves, LBV, Vintage and Aged Tawnies. These wines typically retail from $15 a bottle for a Reserve Port to over $100 a bottle for a great Vintage Port. Peter Scott, President of Premium Port Wine, Inc. (Symington Family Estates’ US Importer), is confident that the premium category will continue to grow in the US, “Port is a sophisticated drink with a flavor profile that is in tune with the US palate.”

Well, at least people are reading this! flirtysmile

Happy to see this. Lots of good Port available at K&L, want to keep it that way.

I’m not sure what to make of this. The real question is how the 2011 figures compare to pre-2008, and how the increases compare to the bounce back for other imported wine categories in the U.S. I note they do not include the pre-crisis baselines. I know people in the trade who said their dollar volumes were down 40% in 2009/2010, so a 40% increase might just bring you back to the level of 2007.

Also, is this sales measured in euros or cases shipped? That wasn’t clear.

No hard feelings toward the poor Portuguese, who need our sympathy, but this reads like corporate PR using selective statistics to address a marketing problem (a perception that no one is buying port in the US), so I approach it with a bit of skepticism.

We’ve been sipping on a very nice 2009 Fonseca all week.

Roy - you know why sales are going up right?

It’s increasingly used in mixed drinks. Bartenders need it. neener

For the record, this was a PR piece and not one I wrote. I thought that would be pretty obvious though.

I don’t care how they achieve an increase in sales and there’s certainly nothing wrong with using Port as an ingredient in cocktails, just as I see no issue with it as an ingredient in sauces or other manner of food prep.

A friend gave me a glass of 1950 Kope Colheita last week. Since then, I’ve been doing more than my fair share of helping Port sales!

We wouldn’t think of having our cranberries at Thanksgiving in anything other than a port reduction sauce.

Port or table wines are staples of cooking to be sure. Problem with mixed drinks is that those are fads - here today and on to something new tomorrow.

Nonetheless, the Port producers have to be happy. It’s a bright spot in a crappy economic situation for them. So cheers to them!

Very glad to hear and hope it is genuine good news for the wineries of Portugal and not just a puff piece that is bypassing what previous sales highs were.

I am especially pleased that 20 y.o., 30 y.o. and Vintage Ports are on the increase as I have recently been helping out this trend myself. :slight_smile:

Somehow, I don’t see many people using Vintage or 20, 30, and 40 year old tawnies for cooking.

In my kitchen we take vintage Port and blend it with Yquem. The sauce is unbelievable, for a mere $300 per portion food cost!

Eric Ifune wrote:
Somehow, I don’t see many people using Vintage or 20, 30, and 40 year old tawnies for cooking.

In my kitchen we take vintage Port and blend it with Yquem. The sauce is unbelievable, for a mere $300 per portion food cost!

Can I come over? flirtysmile

Sure thing, but we try to keep food cost at 30%, so that’s a $1000 plate. [snort.gif]

+1 on that. This board is killing my finances…