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The b.f.t to return in 2018

Published:  05 July, 2017

The world’s largest fair dedicated to solely to fortified wines is to return next year when it will once again unite Port and Sherry lovers from the UK and abroad.

Harpers can reveal that the Big Fortified Tasting (b.f.t) is due to return after a one year hiatus, after the sad passing of event organiser Ben Campbell-Johnson in 2016 led the tasting to be cancelled earlier this year.

Continuing Ben’s legacy will be Port aficionado Alex Bridgeman, who will be organising the event with the support of the show’s original founder, Danny Cameron.

Building on Ben’s successful format, Bridgeman confirmed the world’s largest fortified show will return to the Assembly Hall at London’s Church House on May 9, 2018.

The tasting has been the main platform for the fortified category since it was first launched, bringing together wines from across the Port, Sherry, and Madeira spectrum and beyond.

Held in London, it will once again unite fortified fans from across the world with a series of masterclasses and tasting opportunities, while also bringing a spotlight to the UK’s love affair with fortified wine.

The show’s new event organiser describes himself as a “huge Port fan” and is also co-founder of the website to which he regularly contributes as a writer.

On the cusp of retirement from his career as a chartered accountant, most recently for DHL, Bridgeman decided to take up the mantle in order to stop the event “disappearing from the trade calendar”.

Bridgeman said: “The sad and untimely death of Ben Campbell-Johnston in 2016 caused the organisation of the Big Fortified Tasting in May 2017 to be abandoned. No-one was able to pick things up at short notice where Ben had been so successful for the previous seven years.”

“However, with the support of Kate Campbell-Johnston and the b.f.t.’s original founder Danny Cameron, I am proud to step forward and to organise the b.f.t. in 2018 and hopefully for many more years. I want to build on Ben's legacy and combine that with my passion and interest in fortified wines and to do my part to continue to grow the profile of a class of wines which reflect the skill, history and heritage of so many winemakers - but which are still seen by too many consumers as an afterthought. “

The b.f.t returns on Wednesday, May 9, 2018.