In the September issue, the Market Watch magazine published an article about the Wines of Portugal, with a special focus on Portuguese table wines and its success in the US market. For decades, Port and Madeira dominated Portugal’s exports, and table wine offerings were practically nonexistent outside of small ethnic enclaves. But thanks to increasing production quality and the storied winemaking heritage, the Portuguese table wines are emerging as equals to their fortified counterparts. Nuno Vale,chief marketing officer of the trade group ViniPortugal, points to the recession as a key driver of recent growth. “When the financial crisis hit, wineries were forced to look elsewhere as consumption in Portugal decreased,” he explains. “Companies spent more time focusing on the U.S. market, and there has been larger interest and increased distribution as a result.” Although discovery plays a big part in the country’s growing sales, Portugal’s winemaking heritage is well-established. Some winemakers continue to use traditional techniques, such as foot-treading in shallow stone basins called “lagares.” Portugal also has a prodigious number of indigenous grape varietals—more than 250. Many winemakers choose to use a combination of indigenous and international varietals, while others stick with strictly native grapes. The diversity of soils and climates are the region’s “secret weapon”, responsible for varied wine styles. Portugal also has a prodigious number of indigenous grape varietals (more than 250). Many winemakers choose to use a combination of indigenous and international varietals, while others stick with strictly native grapes. Throughout the article is pointed out the difficulties of the commercialization in the US and the efforts that should be implemented to struggle them. “The greatest challenge is the lack of distribution in the United States,” says ViniPortugal’s Vale. “Distribution and equity on the shelf need to rapidly increase in order to meet the demands of the market while interest in Portugal is still high.” Nuno Vale also notes the important role of gastronomy in the promotion of tourism and wines. “We need to connect the wines to our country’s natural resources and gastronomy.” ViniPortugal’s Vale points to Portugal’s affordability and accessibility. “Americans are rapidly discovering Portugal as a tourist destination, and wine tourism appears to be a huge driver of that trend,” he explains.To overcome difficulties, increase consumption and create awareness about Portuguese wines is essential to raise a joint growth, a collective effort among trade groups, importers and brands. Read the full article here.