2018 saw 50 producers showing a total of 290 wines covering a large range of fortified styles including Port, Madeira, Sherry, Alentejo, Banyuls, Moscatel de Setúbal and fortified wines from Australia. A number of Port producers including Sandeman and Quevedo presented their 2016 vintage Ports giving visitors an early opportunity to taste the new vintage being released later in the year.
5 masterclasses gave over 300 visitors the opportunity to attend a tutored tasting led by one of the producers who took the class through a particular aspect of their wines. Ricardo Diogo of Barbeito compared 4 newly made 2017 Madeiras with the mature wine of the same grape to illustrate how the wines age. Dirk Niepoort showed 10 component wines from his 2017 harvest to illustrate the art of blending a new vintage port. Other masterclasses were presented by Adrian Bridge (The Golden Age of Taylor’s Tawny), Sarah Abbott MW (Colheita Madeira) and George Sandeman with Luís Sottomayor (Sandeman Vintage Port 2016-1963).
We had 637 people register to attend the show, with just over 400 attending on the day. The photos from the day give a real sense of what the event offers. The split of registrations was approximately:
- 45% off-trade – a mix of large wine merchants, smaller wine merchants and national retailers.
- 27% on-trade – restaurants, bars, London clubs and university colleges.
- 28% trade and general press (Sunday Times, Independent, Yorkshire Post, Decanter, Fine Wine Magazine), wine writers and bloggers (including Julia Harding from Jancis Robinson’s Purple Pages, Richard Mayson, Alex Liddell and Neal Martin), educators from the WSET as well as independent wine educators, restaurant wine list consultants, PR companies and the leading London auction houses.
With the absence of the event from the calendar in 2017, re-establishing the Big Fortified Tasting as a regular event was a key priority and the feedback received from visitors and exhibitors has confirmed the appetite remains for the event.
We look forward to welcoming you in 2019. The show takes place on 16th April 2019 at Church House Conference Centre. Registration is now open for visitors.