Established in 2010 by Danny Cameron and Ben Campbell-Johnston, the aim of the Big Fortified Tasting was to create a trade show dedicated to a wine category that has shaped - and been shaped - by the history of this country and the wider world.
With the support of The Port Wine Institute (IVDP), Extenda (the trade promotion agency of Andalusia), The Madeira Institute (IVBAM) and with Ben’s tenacity to make things happen the first show was held in Glaziers’ Hall, London on the 19th April 2010.
2013 saw the start of the masterclasses and the winning of the International Wine Challenge category award. In 2014, the growing success of the show meant a move to Church House Conference Centre. The following year Danny left to focus on one of his other interests – a gin Distillery in Wales leaving the show in Ben’s capable hands. Ben’s sudden and unexpected death in late 2016 could have meant the end of the b.f.t.
While walking the Thames Footpath in the summer, Alex Bridgeman was reflecting on the loss of the 2017 show in a conversation with his wife. Her response of “Why don’t you try to run the show in 2018?” followed some weeks later by “Do you need some help with organising it, darling?” is what got us to where we are today.
Happily, the b.f.t. now continues under the guiding hands of Alex and Elizabeth with the essential help of Ben Read. We even managed to find ways to run the show in the midst of a pandemic!