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Portugal's Seal of Merit

Published:  23 July, 2008

Eight Portuguese wines exported to the UK will soon feature a special Seal of Merit in an effort to make them more consumer friendly.

They are among 27 wines to receive the accolade from the Fines Wines Board, a panel of wine writers, buyers and sommeliers chosen by Viniportugal, the promotional body for the country's wine industry. The other 19 wines will feature on shelves in Portugal's other key export markets: the United States and Germany.

Paolo Amorim, head of Viniportugal, said that consumer discomfort' with Portuguese wines was hindering the country's growing export market. When confronted with a Portuguese wine, the average consumer doesn't know the brand, the grape, the language or the region the wine is from,' he said. It is important to make them feel comfortable and the Seal of Merit will help to do that.'

He emphasised that the new accolade was not encouraging producers to opt for an international' style, but should be seen as a benchmark in how quality wines can use smart tactics to get close to target customers' and be good ambassadors' for Portugal.

He added: It rewards those who have innovated or improved their winemaking with a view to specific markets, and sends a warning to those whose efforts are well-intentioned but in the wrong direction.'

This year's UK winners are:

Premium category (under 4.99): 2006 Quinta da Lixa Branco, Vinho Verde; 2006 Quintas de Melgao Torre de Menagem Alvarinho-Trajadura, Vinho Verde; 2005 Quinta dos Avidagos Tinto, Douro; 2004 Adega Cooperativa Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo Touriga Nacional, Beira Interior.

Super-premium category

(5-9.99): 2006 Cooperativa Agricola de Santo Isidro de Peges Colheita Seleccionada, Terras do Sado; 2005 Casa Cadaval Trincadeira, Ribatejo; Caves Trasmontanas Vrtice Tinto 2003, Douro; Quinta dos Roques Tinto 2004, Do DOC.